Tiles to aid co­ral spawn­ing

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Louise Alling­ham

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.

Pic­ture: Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife

Re­search will help pro­tect and un­der­stand the Pil­bara’s unique reef sys­tems.

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