We put our first pilot statue, a flower, in the ocean somewhere halfway through October last year. We had made flower leafs from different materials and combinations of sand, concrete and chicken wire to assess each combination’s suitability for our CoralGarden. Has our flower survived the monsoon and the accompanying storms? What are the differences between the different leaves right now? We were very curious and could not wait to see what has happened in the last year!
We dove on Hin Fai, the home of the already present Biorock and since last year, our flower (for more information on Biorock, check NHRCP’s website)). First of all, the flower is still standing! Our modular structure stood strong in desperate times, or waves. As we expected, some algae have settled in, but here and there the coral is fighting back and slowly coming up! Furthermore, we find a couple of Weibel’s Butterflyfish living under the leafs, a small group of moon wrasses, another school of small damselfish and a hermite crab on and around the flower. Every once in a while a parrotfish passes by and takes a bite of the algae. This is encouraging: one of our goals was to build structures that attract a rich diversity of life quickly!
A further inspection of the flower learns us the following:
One of the leafs which held only chicken wire, no concrete, is now “naked”. We had installed three different types of wire, one simple, cheap type and two sturdier, more expensive types. The cheapest variant is now gone. We expect is has rusted away despite the cathodic protection from the Coral-Aid system. We know there was a power outage for quite some time due to an on-land power failure. After rusting for quite some time, it was probably detached from the statue by a fishing line, as we find quite some monofilament fishing lines including lead and hooks attached to the flower.
One of the twelve leafs has been detached and is lying on the ground. How did that happen? After we quickly reinstalled it we start thinking about a way to improve the attachment techniques to prevent these little accidents in the future.
Finally we remove some of the colonizing algae from the leafs to see if it will have an effect on the growth and settling of corals on the flowers.
We attached some coral fragments in October so the flower was immediately colonized. One of the fragments is having the time of its life:
Knowing our flower statue is not a wallflower, we end our dive with a good feeling.