Navigating Ecological Challenges: Coral Conservation at the Wonder Reef

The City employed Reef Ecologic to undertake Coral transplanting from Palm Beach Reef to the Wonder Reef with an aim to support and foster an ecological community on the newly constructed reef.

The relocation of the 258 coral fragments to Wonder Reef unveiled valuable insights into coral survivorship and attachment techniques. Acropora and Echinopora colonies showcased robust resilience, outperforming others. However, challenges arose, particularly for corals on tensar geogrids, which struggled against encroaching turf algae and sponges, highlighting the inefficiency of this method compared to ropes. Underwater putty emerged as an effective attachment solution, especially for smaller colonies, enhancing their growth on the steel structure.

The study’s 20-month monitoring period revealed a low overall survivorship of 12.1%, primarily due to barnacle overgrowth, sponge invasion, and intense swells. Consequently, future coral planting efforts are discouraged due to these challenges and the current thriving benthic community comprising mollusks, sponges, and algae. Whilst the structure builds its ecological community naturally, it is important that we keep an eye on changes out at the Wonder reef. Our Citizen science project, iNaturalist, has proved invaluable in documenting the reef’s biodiversity and will continue doing so into the future.

If you would like to contribute to the Wonder Reef’s ecological database, please submit your findings here,

Published: November 15, 2023