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  • Ayesha Shaikh

Restoring Corals

These people are literal magicians- they revive the dead.

If you’ve watched ‘Zindagi Na milegi Dobara’ you might remember that scuba diving scene with those colourful plant-like structures. Well, they are actually animals and are called corals. Corals are the most colourful and vibrant animals, who are very pretty to look at! Not to mention, they are very integral to the ocean ecosystem and us humans as well! They provide habitats to other ocean organisms while also being tourist spots that helps the local economy!

Due to global warming and ocean acidification, the colour disappears from these animals rendering them white and ultimately lifeless.

However, some heroes are working hard to protect and even restore these amazing yet fragile animals!

Coral gardening is similar to normal gardening, except it’s underwater. And instead of seeds, living corals are cut into pieces (this accelerates their growth rate) in a process called fragmentation. Now, cutting them requires skill, practice and a steady hand since it can be stressful to the corals.

Then, an artificial tree is constructed on which the corals are hung like Christmas ornaments.

To allow the corals to mature, the tree is fixed in a nursery underwater by scuba divers! Imagine scuba diving as your job while also making the world a better place. It’s definitely my dream job. Although, it’s not as merry as it sounds. Coral restoration is labor intensive so let’s appreciate the unsung heroes that are these people. While they’re down there, they harvest mature corals from previously planted trees and now these mature corals are ready for the natural habitats!

Some corals are secured by fastening them to masonry nails, these corals branch out and overgrow the attachments. Others are secured using discs. After a while, the corals that were planted by the divers grow into gorgeous beings, contributing to the rich and lively ambience underwater.

Restoring corals is an overall complex procedure, another reminder of how difficult it is for us to recreate nature...that is why we should stop destroying it.


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