SECORE workshop program helps to spread coral conservation
The SECORE workshop program aims to train participants in a way they can set up similar initiatives elsewhere. Ryan Czaja, Ramon Villaverde, and Allan Marshall – all participants of former SECORE workshops – have done so in Florida. Ryan has sent us some notes and pictures of the first six days of their coral spawning research and observation activities, and we are happy to share them with you. As soon as we hear more from him, we will let you know! Here is his diary so far:
Day 1 (Monday July 30th)
Tanya Kamerman and Ramon Villaverde did a check dive in the Florida Aquarium - the picture shows the main exhibit, which served for the check dive to get an overview of the Florida Aquarium scuba gear set up and a basic scuba skill review.
We continued the day with a tour of the Aquarium and a boat safety review. Also, we had to make sure we have our checklist of gear for the spawning and pack all the gear into the trucks.
Day 2 (Tuesday July 31st)
We reviewed our checklist and added miscellaneous before we started our 6-hour drive to Tavernier Key. Participants are Lauren Freeman, John Than and Ryan Czaja from the Florida Aquarium, Ramon Villaverde from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Tanya Kamerman from the Disney Seas with Nemo and friends pavilion.
Together, we dropped the boat into the water and loaded the tanks into the boat. When everything was ready, we went to Kens warehouse to unload equipment, clean up and started to organize the area. We had to clean up the holding systems and did some re-plumbing.
Day 3 (Wednesday August 1st)
Allison Towner from Moody Gardens arrived and we collected water for water changes on the coral spawn systems. Then, we went out to Kens lease sight and dove to get familiar with the sight while assisting by hanging some coral fragments on trees. During our 2nd dive we collected adult colonies to bring back into the lab for ex-situ spawn collection.
After that we had to do some minor tweaking of the systems and resolve some chiller issues. In the evening, we checked the Acropora cervicornis for spawning between 9.45 and 10.30pm.
Day 4 (Wednesday August 2nd)
In the morning, we checked the system and had to work on some chiller issues again. The team split up to get some gas for the boat and do a water run, while the other half was working on the systems. Then, we dove the Molasses Reef to lay a line between the colonies. Unfortunately, we had some boat issues, so the night dive was scrubbed. We checked the systems again, as well as the Acropora cervicornis in the systems for spawning.
Day 5 (Friday August 3rd)
Rich Ross and Marisa Avila from the California Academy of Sciences arrived, together with Allan Marshall from the Florida Aquarium. After we prepared the boat for the dives and organized the collection nets, we made check out dives for Rich and Marisa at the Molasses Reef. Then the crew divided: Ramon and Allison went with Ken Nedimyer (Coral Restoration Foundation) to his site and the rest went to the Molasses Reef. Kens Crew rides out the storm while Florida Aquarium team was pushed in due to harsh weather. We got no reported spawning from NOAA or Kens crew.
Day 6 (Saturday August 4th)
During the day, we watched a lot of the Olympics. GO USA! Then, we prepared the boat for the night dives, run a check on the systems, washed the filters and cleaned up.