High survival rate paves way for a bigger project
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250 samples of four coral species were transplanted in Gulf of Kutch off Jamnagar, 71% of which survived.
Almost three-fourths of 250 coral fragments that were transplanted during a pilot experiment within the Gulf of Kutch have survived, according to the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation.
This has paved the way for further efforts wherein more local species as well as fragments from the Lakshadweep Islands would be transplanted in waters off the Marine National Park in Jamnagar — one of the four sites in India where corals are found.
Funded by the World Bank, a team of 25 led by a core group of state-run GEER Foundation researchers Dishant Parasariya, Yashpal Anand and Devanshi Joshi had started the experiment on transplantation of four local species in September 2010.
While the Gulf of Kutch is home to 41 hard and 10 soft coral species, much of it had been devastated by decades of human interference in the waters there. At least one species, known as Acropora, is believed to have disappeared in this time, and the plan is to transplant samples of this from Lakshadweep.
"Our team has been quite successful in this first experiment. We hope to transplant more local species and more specimens in this current season, much before the monsoon sets in. We are also working on obtaining samples from Lakshadweep, and hope to receive necessary permissions soon," said Dr Bharat Pathak, director, GEER Foundation.
The team had developed its own protocol for transplantation — after identifying suitable samples in Poshitra and Bhaidar (which together had a reef cover of about 41 per cent, quite healthy for the gulf), 250 samples from four different coral species were transplanted to sites in Narara, which had been studied earlier. The species were favia favus, favia speciosa, porites lutea and porites compressa.