Saturday, August 19, 2017

South Pacific Projects Coral Finder Workshop

South Pacific Projects invited the CICBP to conduct a coral identification workshop at Leleuvia Island (Kabuna Waters) about an hour by car, and 4o minutes by boat, from Suva. The site, a low lying coral cay, was situated mid way across the lagoon and provided  superb access to inshore, mid-lagoon, back-barrier and outer barrier environments.  You can see a gallery of images from this coral ID workshop here. The workshop was delivered to South Pacific Projects staff and an invited guest from the Fisheries Department.  The CICBP expert tutors Dr Lyndon Devantier and Dr. Emre Turak combined the workshop training with the opportunity to conduct cross lagoon coral surveys.

Lyndon Devantier

Dr Lyndon Devantier at "work" identifying corals

Nine dives along a cross-lagoon transect produced over 300 species  – not by any means an exhaustive list – but certainly an excellent contemporary update to the knowledge of Fiji’s corals. Adding more sites would certainly be rewarded with more species.  As a result of this survey a number of specimens were lodged with in the coral reference collection at the University of South Pacific. Dr Ed Lovell of USP (and who worked on the original coral monographs produced by Dr J.E.N. Veron at the Australian Institute of Marine Science) was on hand to integrate the new specimens into the collection and tease Lyndon and Emre with a bestiary of tricky specimens he had collected over the years.

Dr Emre Turak photographing Cyphastrea decadia near Leleuvia island

Dr Emre Turak photographing Cyphastrea decadia near Leleuvia island

Our time at Leleuvia Island was a pleasure.  Great reefs with a diversity of habitats sufficient to keep any coral nerd happy and a bunch of highly motivated divers hungry to learn their corals

Some of the participants of the Leleuvia Island workshop