The Coral Nursery

To help replenish wild populations of corals, whether in areas where there has been a vessel grounding or areas where coral populations have declined due to major environmental events such as coral bleaching and winter cold water events, the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment has allowed Sunset Divers a permit to grow corals in underwater nurseries, specifically Staghorn coral.

Staghorn and Elkhorn coral can grow and reproduce through fragmentation; if a branch falls off on the reef and conditions are favorable, it can reattach to the rock and begin to grow a new colony. We take advantage of this naturally occurring process by growing corals in our offshore underwater nurseries until they are large enough to be out-planted on the reef.

 

In the nursery, the fragments are attached to PVC and fiberglass trees suspended off the seafloor. The rescued corals are cared for by staff and volunteers who monitor their health and growth and keep algae, encrusting sponges, and tunicates at bay.

There are currently 3 trees, each holding 100 fragments.  There is another tree that has nothing on just to the South, which is used as a quarantine tree, should something arise that we need to separate the fragments.

Coral Conservation Courses available at Sunset Divers

Guided Coral Nursery Dive (Discover Reef Renewal)

Join our dive staff on a guided Coral Nursery shore dive and become a Citizen Scientist for the afternoon.  Learn about the importance of Coral Nurseries here in Cayman and help maintain our Nursery by monitoring the trees for predators & disease.

$150 per person

PADI Reef Renewal Distinctive Specialty Course

This course consists of classroom session and workshops in order to the correct reef renewal techniques.  Followed by 2 open water dives to our nursery for maintenance, surveying, cleaning, removing algae and predators that can damage the corals and affect their growth. 

$275 per person

Coral Nursery Maintenance Half Day

Two guided shore dives to assist staff at the coral nursery.  Tasks will depend on the work that is being carried out at that rime.  Can include maintenance, cleaning, removing predators, conducting surveys, collecting data and restoring reefs.  Divers must already be certified with the Reef Renewal specialty course.

$150 per person

Coral Spawning Lecture & Reef Survey Dive

Enjoy an interesting lecture on the coral spawning of our Coral Nursery and then dive the survey area between Sunset House reef and Don Fosters reef.  Your guide will point out new coral formations found in this area due to the spawning events.

$150 per person

All of the above courses are offered in conjunction with the ECO Divers Reef Foundation

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