Tiles to aid coral spawning
The Department of Parks and Wildlife and CSIRO have fitted coral settlement tiles around 16 locations along the Dampier Archipelago as part of the Pilbara Marine Conservation Project.
The terracotta tiles are attached to non-living parts of the reef ahead of a coral spawning event.
Once the coral have spawned, they settle on the tiles and are left to grow.
After six weeks, they will be removed and analysed.
DPaW marine co-ordinator Rachael Marshall said the analysis would be important in understanding the Pilbara’s unique reef systems.
“You look at places like the Great Barrier Reef and that whole reef is one connected reef, whereas here you’ve got Dampier, then you’ve got the (Montebello Islands) and Barrow and you’ve got reefs off the Onslow coast and Ningaloo,” she said.
“They’re quite separate and we don’t understand how they’re all connected.”
Ms Marshall said the research would help conserve corals which were critical to reef systems.
“You’re not going to be able to protect something if you don’t understand it,” she said.
With tropical waters being so nutrient-poor, coral reefs are regarded as similar to oases in the desert, providing food, protection and habitats for native marine life.
Research will help protect and understand the Pilbara’s unique reef systems.