August 6 – Outplant training dive, exhibit workshop and last spawning night dives

Outplant training dive

This afternoon, a small group made an outplant training dive at the Sea Aquarium reef to test if epoxy can be used to keep the tiles with juvenile corals in place.

It was sad to see how much damage the storm has done to the reef and the corals. Lots of Elkhorn and Staghorn branches, as well as pieces from other corals have been ripped off and scattered all over the reef. Some large coral colonies were even turned completely upside down.

Within the (still pretty heavy) surge, Mitch Carl demonstrated how to attach the tiles to the reef. It took a while before the epoxy was set, but in the end, it worked. Tomorrow, there will be an outplant workshop with all the participants.

Exhibit workshop

Meanwhile, Mark Schick, Bob Snowden, Kim Stone, Mike Daniel, Steve Hartter, Janelle Baca, Shawn Garner, Kari McKeehan, Elliot Provance and Stacy Misura were doing a great job with the exhibit tank in the Sea Aquarium. They made a dive to collect rocks, which were used to create a nice underwater scenery in the tank. Heavy work, but with a nice result. Thanks to Mike Daniels for pointing out what has been done 🙂

Dinner and dive time!

After a very nice local dinner, prepared by David van Bergen, it was finally time to dive! Though small, there was still a chance that the corals might spawn. As always, one group went to the Sea Aquarium dive site and the other to the Spanish Waters dive site. At the Sea Aquarium site, two instructors of Atlantis Diving joined the group to help out, which was very nice. Unfortunately, there was no spawning or staging to be observed. Spawning of the Elkhorn and Staghorn corals usually occurs in August, 4-5 days after full moon. Since full moon was very early in August this year, and it will be full moon again August 31, the Elkhorn and Staghorn corals most likely will spawn again in the beginning of September. Valérie Chamberland, Mark Vermeij (CARMABI) and Kristen Marhaver (UCSD) will be ready to continue the work and get gametes collected.

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