Coralclip®: a low-cost solution for rapid and targeted out-planting of coral at scale

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Restoration Ecology, 2019
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Society for Ecological Restoration Re-attaching or out-planting coral as fragments, colonies, and on larval settlement devices to substrates is a major bottleneck limiting scalabilty and viability of reef restoration practices. Many attachment approaches are in use, but none that are low-cost, opportunistic, rapid but effective, for integration into existing tour operations on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) where staff and boat time is a major cost and chemical fixatives cannot be easily used. We describe a novel attachment device—Coralclip®—developed to meet this need and so aid maintenance and restoration of GBR tourism sites. Coralclip® is a stainless steel springclip attached by a nail integrated through the spring coil, and can be deployed with a coral fragment in as fast as 15 seconds. Initial laboratory tests demonstrated that Coralclip® secured coral fragments or larval settlement tiles under dynamic flow regimes characteristic of exposed reefs. Coral out-planting from fragments of opportunity and from nurseries (n = 4,580; 0.3–1.9 coral/minute; US$0.6–3.0/coral deployed) or larval settlement tiles (n = 400; 2.5 tiles/minute; US$0.5 tile deployed−1) when deployed by divers from routine boat operations at Opal Reef confirmed highly effective attachment, with ≤15% failure of clips found after 3–7 months. We discuss how Coralclip® is a cost-effective means to support reef maintenance and restoration practices.
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