[6th December 2017] We wondered whether four years of conservation effort has improved the coral in the Kwanini Marine Protected Area. We wanted to try and answer some simple questions like how much coral is there? How many different species are there? How does the reef grow? What are the main threats to the coral survival? Does the steepness of the underwater slope make the reef unstable? To answer some of these fascinating questions we have established four permanent monitoring sites on the reef opposite the Manta Resort. These monitoring sites (called quadrats) are 10m x 10m squares marked on the seabed using lead weighted rope, secured at the corners with blocks made from coral rag. The rope is marked every metre to allow accurate measurements. Each of the individual 1 metre squares within the quadrat – 100 in all - will be photographed every six months and analysed for percentage coral cover, substrate cover and biodiversity. We want to set up two more in 2018 just outside the Kwanini MPA to see what the difference inside and outside the MPA.
The staff of the Manta Resort dive centre are helping us with this project. It is really important not to damage the existing coral or disturb the seabed when photographing the individual squares. Our scientists have spent some time training staff of the Manta Resort Dive Centre to help us carry out the monitoring and they are now highly skilled in laying ropes, keeping them in good order and assisting with the photography. To date 3 quadrats have been laid and photographic surveys have been completed for 2 locations. We hope to finish the setting out work by early 2018 and have a full set of results by October 2018.
The quadrats lie at 5 metre and 10 metre depths and can clearly be seen while diving or snorkelling – watch out for them on your next visit to the reef and be sure to ask your dive or snorkel guide for more information.
We will keep you posted when the results become available! We will publish them on the documents section of the website.