GCRA's International Training Workshop on Coral Reef Restoration was held at Pemuteran, Bali.
The opening was addressed by many speakers, including the Minister of Tourism of Indonesia, the 3 top Directors of the National Fisheries Mariculture Laboratories, the Dean of Research of Udayana University, the Governor of North Bali province, the President of the Indonesian Dive and Watersports Association, the President of the Association of Indonesian Travel Agents, and the President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, among others.
Articles about the importance of the workshop for restoring Indonesia's Coral reefs were published in leading newspapers including the Jakarta Post and the Bali Post. Several documentary movies were shown featuring the projects. A fuller report of the workshop, including these articles, and photos of the projects done, will be posted on the GCRA web site. The workshop was funded by local in-kind donations of services from hotels and dive shops, and a grant of about 9,000 ECU for materials from the Lighthouse Foundation.
The majority of the 19 participants were Indonesian students from Java, Bali, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Timor, from Bogor University, Gajah Mada University, Palu University, and environmental conservation groups. In addition there were participants from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Britain, and the United States.
Students obtained lecture and hands-on training, and learned to design, build, deploy, maintain, and repair Biorock coral reef and fisheries restoration projects. Students were able to observe Biorock Coral and Fish Nursery structures ranging in age from 3.5 years old to brand new, and see the tremendous acceleration of coral growth and exceptionally high densities of fish with increasingly complex diversity that are developed rapidly on them.
The buildup of grouper populations in the structures as the result of a release of hatchlings by the Indonesian Government Mariculture Research Laboratory at Gondol, as well as increasing populations of Emperors, fusiliers, snappers, and cuttlefish, among many others types of fish of all kinds and trophic levels, was evident.
The results of two recent student research theses on the project were presented. Ramadian Bachtiar of Bogor University compared Biorock reefs to conventional artificial reefs, and found that the Biorock produced much better results of more direct application to restoring Indonesian marine resources. Putra Nyoman Dwija of Udayana University compared growth rates of staghorn Acroposa corals on Biorock structures and on adjacent controls, finding four times higher growth rate on Biorock. He is now translating his thesis from Bahasa Indonesia into English, and I will help him prepare it for publication in a leading international science journal.
Immediately following the workshop participants started many new projects. There are now nearly 60 Biorock projects in Indonesia, totaling close to a kilometer of reef.. Two new projects were started and a third planned near Palu, central Sulawesi, by local universities and NGOs. Two new projects were started with dive shops near Tulamben, Bali. The Gajah Mada University Diving Club is planing new projects in east Java, and research projects on corals, fishes, gastropods, and nudibranchs on them. The Bogor Univeristy Dive club has raised funds for new projects in the Thousand Islands, north of Jakarta, comparing Biorock reefs with conventional artificial reefs, and measuring coral growth rates and fish populations. A very successful one year project at Sambi Renteng, Bali was repaired and expanded. Three projects in Flores were checked and found to have promising results despite lack of maintenance. The government of North Bali has allocated funds for a new ecotourism/fisheries project in Lovina. Additional requests came in for projects from dive shops, community groups, tourism facilities, hotels, and beach erosion projects that we have not had time to deal with yet.
Samples of 8 coral species on Biorock and nearby controls of the same species were taken for comparison of coral reproduction by histological analysis by Ray Hayes, to be compared with results by James Cervino showing that Biorock corals have more symbiotic algae, and much higher algae cell division growth rates than controls, indicating superior health.
Regrets were received from many groups in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, and Iran who were unable to find the travel money or the time to attend. Many of them requested help starting projects anyway.
Meetings were held with the faculties of Biology and Environmental Sciences at Udayana University to prepare a proposal for a new coastal zone management program with GCRA to focus on training and research in coral reef and fisheries restoration, water quality mapping, and nutrient management of the coastal zone and watersheds. Funding is being sought for this program in Bali. This program will complement GCRA's plans to set up a similar program at the University of Quintana Roo in Cozumel, Mexico, and in Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean, as well as setting up water quality labs with the Governments of the Cayman Islands and the Netherlands Antilles.
In Taiwan I did an interview with the leading national environmental radio program, and gave a lecture at National Taiwan University. The Taiwan National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium held a press conference in which the President, Dr,, Fang, announced establishment of a cooperative research program with GCRA. I participated in a conference on the conservation of dolphin populations.
Research projects to measure coral growth rates, photosynthetic electron flow, photosynthetic efficiency, reproduction, and skeletal trace element and stable isotope chemistry under a variety of conditions and controls were started at the Coral Cultivation Facility of the Kenting Aquarium, the largest, and best, controlled coral growing facility in the world. Dr T.-Y. Fan, Head of the Biology Department and Head of the Coral Lab is our major partner. We anticipate that many Taiwanese and Indonesian students will be able to do fundamental and applied research on the effects of Biorock-stimulated growth on coral physiology. As a result of this partnership, GCRA has obtained access to the best facilities in the world for basic and applied research into coral growth and Biorock technology.
With regard to publications three papers were accepted and are now under final revisions: a paper by T. Goreau on nutrient management of the coastal zone and the effects of nutrients on algae and coral reef eutrophication for the UN Expert Meeting on Waste Management in Small Island Developing States, a paper by James Cervino, Ray Hayes, Tom Goreau, and more on a disease of coral zooxanthellae for Symbiosis, a paper by T. Goreau,, J. Cervino, and R. Pollina on increased zooxanthellae densities and division rates in electrically stimulated corals for Symbiosis. A paper by J. Cervino, R. Hayes, T. Goreau and more on the identification of coral disease pathogens is under review. A large number of papers are in final preparation on coral diseases, sponge diseases, algae diseases, costs and benefits of coral reef restoration, global coral reef temperature records, and long term global changes in ocean circulation and implications for climate change and the future of coral reefs and fisheries. An invited book chapter on GCRA community-based coral reef restoration programs in Indonesia, Panama, Mexico, and Palau is in preparation. A GCRA briefing on the impacts of global climate change on small island nations was presented by the Barbados Government Environmental Advisor to the UN Meeting on Small Island Nations in Nassau. Invited lectures will be shortly given at the Monterrey Bay Marine Aquarium Research Institute and at the World Fisheries Congress in Vancouver.
The April coral restoration/fisheries/shore protection project in Palau is entering final preparation stages. Large new projects in Mexico are in final planning stages, a project has been approved in Italy, and workshops and training courses in Panama, Dominica, and Mexico are in planning stages for later this year, along with research and planning meetings in Taiwan and Indonesia. A project in Hawaii and in the Philippines are in the early planning stages. A large number of projects and student research efforts with GCRA are in development or underway in many parts of the world.
Thomas J. Goreau