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Date: Feb 03 1999 12:47:08 EST
From: Reef Ball's Interested List <>
Subject: Reef Ball Update

Message #188

1) From Puerto Rico: TRANSFORMATION OF ARTIFICIAL CONCRETE "REEF BALL" STRUCTURE into living coral heads through the use of implants of JUVENILE massive corals. Implants of massive corals over long lasting artificial reefs, concrete reef balls (a coral-like dome) have proven to be useful for the restoration or development of a small patch reef on back reef area. The potential ability of some massive corals to spread over an artificial reef structure can reduce the time of colony development while enhancing vertical stratification of coral microhabitats. Three concrete "Reef Balls" were deployed at three backreef sites in La Parguera, South of Puerto Rico. These structures were planted with juvenile massive corals (< 20 cm dia.) of several species (Diploria spp., Montastrea spp. and Colpophyllia spp.) using marine cement. Dead coral heads observed near reef balls were also planted with juvenile massive corals. Jeopardized coral populations from shallow reef flat zones were used as a source for transplants (n=64 colonies). Overall survivorship of corals 10 months after transplantation was 94 %. Also, coral colonies overcame the impairment of the wave action whichoccurred during Hurricane Georges.(Bay Balls) These preliminary results indicate a very succesful rate for the methodology employed. However, our team will continue studies for the widespread field testing and refinement of these methods and test massive coral species for differences in survival and establishment strategies (lateral growth vs. upward growth response) on concrete "reef ball" structures at different habitats.

-Antonio Ortiz, Lajas, PR

2) The Reef Ball Foundation is working to assist with the following project in Virginia: "The site will be constructed around an existing fixed navigational aid, Newport News Middle Ground Light. This is a definite precedent setter on the part of the USCG's 5th District. This will be the first reef site to be developed within the actual harbor of Hampton Roads, within a short distance of the historic Monitor-Merrimac battle site. This reef will be developed as a combination artificial fishing reef and hardclam sanctuary.

The site has been chosen based upon hydrodynamic modeling of hardclam larvae dispersion within the harbor developed by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Before an application for permit was filed, individuals from the commercial hardclam industry were consulted and agreed to the concept of a "set aside" to attempt to develop a broodstock sanctuary.

On the artificial reef side of the project, the site is, and has been, a desirable destination for recreational fishermen, who have historically caught black drum, striped bass, spot, croaker and flounder. Indications are that seasonal populations of black seabass and tautog should also find the reef habitat in this location attractive. Reef structure in this area will serve a twofold purpose:

Prevent harvest of clams within the broodstock sanctuary and...

Provide habitat attractive to a number of recreationally important species of finfish.

More Later....


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