Close on the heels of the Gujarat forest department and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) transplanting fragments of locally-extinct coral species in the coastal waters of Gujarat, the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation (GEER) too has begun an experiment on the same lines.
GEER foundation had conducted the first phase of the experiment a few days ahead of the WTI initiative. In the GEER foundation initiative, fragments of local coral species from Poshitra were transplanted in Narara in Jamnagar. "Around 250 fragments of locally available coral species were transplanted in seven frames in Narara," said an official associated with the project.
The official said that the experiment was being carried out to see which coral species responded to what conditions. A second phase of transplantation will also happen, where the corals will be transplanted at coasts other than Narara.
"The transplantation can only happen when the conditions are right. We will have to wait for some time before the next phase of transplantation begins. Apart from Narara, the transplantation will take place in other coastal areas though we have not zeroed in on the sites," said the official. Corals are transplanted during low tide and when the water temperature is right.
It should be noted that corals are an important part of marine biodiversity and ecosystem and support a number of life forms. They face threats from both natural and manmade factors including silting, natural algae frown, changes in temperature and pollution. Gujarat is home to around 52 species of corals.
Unlike the earlier experiment by WTI when fragments of Acropora sp. were collected from Agatti island in Lakshadweep, and reintroduced in the reef close to Gujarat, this time around the corals have been collected from Poshitra itself to be transplanted at Narara.