ONE°15 Marina, NUS partner in coral research project
Published: Tuesday, 09 October 2018
ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove and the Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have entered a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a man-made coral garden for advancing reef restoration research and enhancing biodiversity in Singapore waters.
(Photo: ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove)
Such collaboration is a first time between TMSI and a commercial entity. The partnership seeks to boost the rehabilitation of coral reefs in Singapore and improve the local marine ecosystem that is critical for providing habitat and shelter for many marine organisms.
ONE°15 Marina has apportioned a stretch of 150m of seabed within its marina for coral cultivation and this area currently encompasses specially designed nurseries to grow young corals and rock boulders with clusters of matured corals.
The coral zone will be maintained by researchers and volunteers from TMSI under the supervision of Professor Chou Loke Ming, who is an Adjunct Research Professor at TMSI, and a veteran in coral ecology.
“The coral garden is envisioned to be a haven for marine biodiversity in a man-made environment and in the long run, it will evolve into an education and research site for students and the public to dive, snorkel and learn about the marine world in a safe and controlled environment,” said Chou.
ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove has championed several environmental projects and activities including Project Perna (mussels cultivation), Earth Hour, and its bi-annual marina clean-up. The coral garden is its latest eco-initiative, which is sponsored by International SeaKeepers Society Asia, Audi Singapore and SC Global Developments.
“We are excited to work with TMSI on this project because corals being natural shelters and food for marine creatures are highly critical for creating marine biodiversity. This research work will contribute towards restoring the 60 per cent of coral reefs believed to have been lost in Singapore waters from land reclamation over the years,” said Teo Joo Leng, General Manager of ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove.
“Our vision for the coral garden is to educate the next generation on marine life and the importance of conserving it. In supporting this project, ONE°15 Marina is affirming its goal to be a leader and role model in the marina industry where we can create and share best practices with other marinas to create a more holistic marine ecosystem in Asia.’’
A study conducted by the Reef Ecology Laboratory of NUS showed that at least 50 types of animals including worms, crustaceans, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, seahorses, algae and zoanthids inhabit the waters of ONE°15 Marina, thanks to the stable marina structures such as berthing pontoons and seawalls. The survey also uncovered 22 genera of hard corals, which have attracted 29 fish species, and with new ones forming.