The purpose of this project during a year (October 2022-September 2023) is the recovery of the vital ecological function of corals in the reef of Melones of the Island Municipality of Culebra (18°18’20.08″N; 65°18’45.06″ W; and 18°18’29.47″; N 65°18’49.06″ W).
The Marine Environment Society will coat with third-dimensional molded concrete skeletal structures of corals killed by stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) for coral recolonization using the micro-fragmentation technique. With 3D-printed molds, the skeletons of the structures to be restored will be coated with cement. Recovering detached pieces of resilient (disease-resistant) living colonies will cut micro-fragments of approximately 2.54 square centimeters to be embedded in the newly laid concrete. This strategy will considerably decrease the species’ time to reestablish themselves since they will regenerate on an already formed, reconditioned, healthy skeleton.
To achieve this, we propose seven steps:
- Search, select, and identify skeletons of coral species to be restored.
- Remove dead tissue, macroalgae, and cyanobacteria with biodigester techniques.
- Search, select, and identify fragments of viable living tissue opportunity for micro fragmentation.
- Encapsulate any remaining pathogenic microorganisms with a layer of cement molded by 3D prints to the new colony.
- Adhering micro-fragments of viable living tissue on cement encapsulating the skeleton.
- Monitor the survival of rehabilitated coral colonies.
- Monitor the growth of rehabilitated coral colonies.