Your Second Community Frame
Last week we built and deployed our second community frame, which will now live and grow at the Sheraton Full Moon Resort and Spa, Maldives.
A community frame is a frame built using each adopted coral fragment. You can adopt a coral fragment online via our website. Once we have enough fragments for a frame, we build a community frame. Every person who adopted a fragment will have contributed to this frame and will receive a certificate and web link where they can see pictures of the frame every 6 months to watch their fragments grow in real time.
So far, we have built two community frames: one small and one medium. Next is a large!
Marine Biologist Amélie Carraut after building our second community frame
How Do Coral Frames Work?
We use coral frames to restore lost reefs and enhance existing reefs. The frames are made from metal topped with layers of resin and sand. We use natural sand from the reef, as the corals attach well onto this as is a natural substrate for corals. The metal weighs the frames down so they do not move in the current. They are permanent structures which the corals can attach to and grow from.
The idea behind the frames is to increase coral abundance. Our smallest frame fits 41 coral fragments, and our largest fits 108 coral fragments. Once they grow, that’s an additional 41-108 coral colonies on the reef.
A small colony of Acropora digitifera which has attached to a coral frame [photo by Kate Sheridan]
Artificial Reefs Increase Marine Biodiversity
In some areas where we have frames, there were no corals before or the corals in the area had died. By placing frames here, we create habitat for fish and other marine life in these previously barren spots. Coral reefs support 25% of marine life, making them one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Corals are literally the bedrock of this system, and so their presence is essential. Increasing their abundance increases the abundance of all the other marine life they support.
The frames also create a unique habitat themselves for various organisms, beyond being a platform for the corals. Tawny nurse sharks (Nebrius ferrugineus) have been spotted sleeping under our coral frame structures, and our slightly older frames after the fragments have grown into larger colonies make ideal habitat for young adult oriental sweetlips (Plectorhinchus vittatus) who otherwise tend to hide under rocks or in caves. At Sheraton Maldives we have a reef octopus (Octopus cyanea) living under a small frame, and sometimes we see rays sleeping under our larger frames.
A tawny nurse shark asleep under our coral pyramids at Sheraton Maldives [photo by Amélie Carraut]
Coral Restoration Increases Reproduction Opportunities
Beyond this, increasing coral abundance increases the likelihood of successful coral reproduction. Therefore, our restoration project can kick-start a positive feedback loop:
Increased coral abundance ➔ Greater likelihood of successful reproduction ➔ Increasing coral abundance further!
Reefscapers teams witnessed spawning events in November 2021, demonstrating the health of our corals and success of our programme (read more).
On a smaller scale, many species of small fish utilise our coral frames. Green chromis (Chromis viridis) and damselfish such as the humbug damsel (Dascyllus aruanus) hide inside various branching corals. Just one coral fragment can grow into a colony which can provide shelter for these fish.
Green chromis (Chromis viridis) hiding in some Acropora secale branches [photo by Kate Sheridan]
Help To Regenerate The Maldivian Reefs
Our coral frames really help improve biodiversity and coral abundance in the Maldives. If you would like to sponsor a frame or adopt one coral fragment, we would really appreciate it. You will receive update photos every 6 months to see your frame grow and see what fish are making their home there!
We think a frame or a fragment make the perfect gift for an ocean lover this Christmas!