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Why We Love Coral And You Should Too

Plerogyra

“Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse marine habitats in the world, host to an extraordinary variety of plants and animals. They are also one of the world's most fragile and endangered ecosystems. They are a significant source of food, provide income and employ countless other benefits to humans.  Yet coral reefs around the world are rapidly being degraded by human activities such as overfishing. World Atlas of Coral Reefs 

 

One of the biggest natural tragedies of recent years is the deterioration of the worlds coral reef.   Once an area for dynamite fishing, Bawah was declared a Marine Conservation Reserve 5 years ago,  now a marine protected area with no  fishing allowed within a 5km radius.

Recovery is good and we have some fabulous reefs to explore.  As coral conservation leaders, we actively monitor the health of the reef and have many plans in place to encourage regrowth.  We encourage guests to visit our active coral nurseries and hexadomes, you can even work with the marine biologists and plant your own piece of history. 

Our 2 marine biologists resident on Bawah and working for the Bawah Anambas Foundation have put together their top 5 must-see coral  to look out for whilst diving/snorkelling around Bawah Reserve: 

 

1 - Heliofungia 

Also known as the long tentacle plate coral, disk coral or mushroom coral.  

A beautiful coral found in shallow waters, reef slopes and especially in lagoon reef habitats like Bawah.  You can see why these are are often mistaken for anemones with their long flowing tentacles.

 

Fun fact: The name Heliofungia comes from the Latin words helios (sun) and fungus (mushroom)

Heliofungia coral at Bawah Reserve

 

 

2 -  Acropora

Also known as table coral, elkhorn coral, and staghorn coral.  The Acropora mostly grows in branching or tabulate lifeforms.   They tend to form  colonies that resemble miniature underwater forests and we have lots of them all over our 3 lagoons.

 

Fun fact:  Acropora corals are the largest reef formations in the world, they make up one-third of all reef building coral species!

Acropora Coral at Bawah Reserve

 

3 -  Porites

Porites are SPS (Small Polyp Stony) corals.   Boulder coral that can reach more than 3m in diameter and  grow rapidly in ideal conditions such as shallow, sunlit places.

 

Fun fact:  Porites are often used in climate change studies because of their large colonies and the fact that they are able to grow for several hundred years.  

Porites

 

4 -  Pachyseris

Also known as the Elephant Skin Coral, Corduroy Coral and Castle Coral.  They often have this crinkled/wrinked like appearance. 

 

Fun fact: The name comes from the latin words: Pachys' which means 'thick' and 'seris' means 'lettuce-like'  - You can see why.... 

Pachyseris Coral at Bawah Reserve

 

5 -  Plerogyra

Also known as Bubble coral, bladder coral, grape coral, octobubble coral.  Very photogenic with it's blue grape-sized bubbles.   They like to live in sheltered reefs at depths from 3 to 35 meters

 

Fun fact:  Named the bubble coral due to the way that the bubbles increase and decrease in size according to the amount of light available.

Plerogyra Coral at Bawah Reserve

 

We do hope you spot all of these during your stay with us.  We have lots of experts on Bawah to help you plan your diving and snorkelling.  Be sure to discuss your needs with the OrcaNation team ( our registered PADI dive centre), our activities team and our marine biologists .  There are also some fabulous coral identification apps/websites to help you identify any other coral you may see - You could try: Atoll Coral identification app  or the Corals of the world  website. Please do share your Bawah coral pictures and stories too.

If you would like to learn more about our community-based coral reef conservation and monitoring and how you can get involved please click here.

 

Always remember these top 5 rules to protect our coral reefs

  • Don't touch any of the  corals.
  • Don't let your body come into contact with corals.
  • Don't let your diving/Snorkeling equipment hang loose. Secure all equipment so nothing bumps into the corals.
  • Don't pollute the water with anything. (use our reef friendly suncream)
  • Don't break off or take any pieces of the corals.

 

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