Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Coral recovery in the Seychelles – 10 years since the 1998 bleaching event

On Monday 5th May 2008, GVI representatives attended a presentation which described the current state of recovery in a number of coral reefs across the Seychelles inner islands. Visiting scientists presented their preliminary findings to local NGOs and government departments, on patterns of recovery in fish, invertebrate and coral populations. This collaborative research effort from Newcastle University (UK), James Cook University (JCU), the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) and Nature Seychelles marks their third data collection expedition within the Seychelles since the study commenced in 1994. Studies were undertaken on Mahe and Praslin over 31 sites with similar studies conducted in 2005, and most recently 2008.

Interestingly, the long term scope of this study, and the variables measured, are consistent with the bi-annual monitoring approach that GVI has been conducting since 2004. These kinds of data sets present a powerful tool for predicting patterns of recovery or degradation across inshore reefs in this region and a useful snapshot of coral health in many heavily used areas. Furthermore, the assessment of reef recovery and ecology after massive habitat disturbances such as the 1998 bleaching event is well recognised as a vital component of future management stratagems and hence local industry.