Patrick Cabaitan
Patrick Cabaitan ready for a field trip from the Bolinao Marine Laboratory

With several years experience in restoring degraded reefs, Patrick Cabaitan is now a Research Associate with the Restoration and Remediation Working Group. He is examining the best techniques for coral transplantation focusing on degraded bommies at two sites in the Bolinao reef complex.

“The bommies are unique habitats that need assistance in recovery because coral recruitment is low compared to reef slopes, coral breeding populations are depleted, and habitats of fish and other biota are degraded,” says Patrick.

“We are trying to work out which species of coral is most suitable for transplantation in the area. A key objective is to compare the survival and growth of single species versus mixed species in transplant plots.”

Corals are monitored at intervals for survival and growth in the various environmental conditions that prevail around the trial site bommies including temperature, salinity, irradiance, water turbulence, sedimentation rate and nutrient levels.

So far, Porites cylindrica has proven to be a good candidate for transplantation with higher survival and growth rates than other species investigated. The presence of Drupella spp. (coral eating snails) is a key factor influencing the survival of the transplants.

Mixed species plot with Porites cylindrica transplants


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