May 17, 2012

RC Indonesia: When Artificial Becomes Natural


By Jenny Willis, Reef Check Indonesia

West Bali National Park and its famous coral reefs are again the winners! Reef Check Indonesia (RCI), in its latest collaboration with the Odyssey Institute, worked with Aramco School to install a new artificial reef at Gilimanuk in West Bali National Park, on the western tip of Bali near Java.

Using five prefabricated concrete Hexadomes, divers used ropes and levers to launch the permanent structures. Students watched from the surface as the delicate operation was conducted.

Some then free-dived to join the divers underwater, and using buddy breathing (breathing through another diver’s spare mouthpiece) the students then tied pieces of pre-prepared coral fragments to the structures. All of these transplanted coral fragments were already broken when they were collected from their home reef.

Derta Purwita from RCI explains that the West Bali National Park site was chosen for a new artificial reef for several reasons:

“Reef Check had already done monitoring in West Bali National Park; we found that this site was degraded, particularly suffering from coral bleaching and climate change impacts. Coral needs something solid to grow on; when reefs are damaged rubble forms, making it hard for new coral to latch onto something to grow. This new artificial reef structure will help form a new solid base for new coral to grow on. With many tourists visiting nearby Menjangan Island, we are concerned that the coral reefs will be pressured. So it’s important we rehabilitate alternative locations nearby, so that the tourist visits can be spread over more sites within West Bali National Park, reducing the strain on Menjangan Island. We will continue this work, with proposed installation of more Hexadomes in Gilimanuk Bay soon.”

Reef Check Indonesia thanks The Odyssey Institute and Amarco School for their collaboration on this project. Click here for more photos.