Coral Rehabilitation and Conservation with Coco Collection III
Jan, 28 2024
Last year, we shared with you a glimpse into the work carried out through our collaboration with the University of Milano-Bicocca as we welcomed 3 of their interns. As we start off the year with more green efforts and partnerships, we are thrilled to share with you the latest insights since we launched our collaboration.
Meet our brilliant interns, Alice Agrestini and Carola Manzoni, who joined us last September.
Alice is currently enrolled as a student in the MSc Marine Sciences programme. She spent her first three months at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu conducting data collection and moved to Coco Bodu Hithi to complete her fieldwork for her masters thesis project. The data collected at both resort islands was analysed and compared to support her thesis on coral reefs and will be crucial in supporting the coral conservation projects at Coco Collection. Additionally, she was involved in planting several new coral frames sponsored by enthusiastic guests at our coral garden; collecting data for identification projects for manta rays, eagle rays, sea turtles; assisting guests on snorkelling and dolphin watching excursions; and integrating into the weekly evening presentation about marine biodiversity.
Carola is a young Italian marine biologist who joined us as a marine intern to gain solid experience in this field. She has completed her first part of the programme and currently will be remaining at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu until the end of March. During her time at Coco Bodu Hithi, she identified 912 coral fragments of 10 different genera and 33 species, planted 9 new coral frames, joined 68 excursions with guests both by shore and by boat, and identified 22 different sea turtle individuals out of 90 photo IDs taken, with the data being sent to our partners at the Olive Ridley Project.
To top it all, she has been assisting marine educator Lauren in all her duties and has now kick-started a coral ID project at Coco Bodu Hithi, building up a catalogue of all the coral species found at the coral garden. 29 out of the existing 34 coral frames have now been analysed, the number of genera and species identified, the abundance of main species, and the extinction risk category assessed. This information will greatly help the team to identify which species of corals needs more attention as they continue to grow the coral garden.
While she is eager to get to know all the resident sea turtles living around the island, her overall favourite hawksbill sea turtle at Bodu Hithi has been HK5678 or “Mocha,” who she has encountered 13 times at the house reef!