Dear SURG members
Thank you for giving me your time to hear about the STARR 2018 expedition in Bali.
Obviously, what’s on top of everyone’s mind now is “volcano”! Yes. Me too. Sea Communities has changed its work from reef rehabilitation to evacuee assistance in the last few weeks.
Nicola was kind enough to invite me to come in November. Rather than deferring this talk and lose a precious slot with SURG, I thought to still come to say hello my SURG friends. I’ll give you a slide show overview of our work, show videos and photos of our expedition team hard at work during STARR 2017. But green light for the expedition will defer till January, latest February.
STARR stands for Scientific Trial Active Reef Rehabilitation. This study takes place at Les village, in the rural north coast of Bali. Les is about 29 km from Mt Agung’s crater but protected from lava flows by a cleavage between Mt Batur and Mt Agung. We are in the safe area (outside the danger radius of 12 km) and currently hosting evacuees from Mt Agung.
STARR is a collaboration between with Sea Communities, a grassroots organisation working with the fishing village of Les to rehabilitate a coral reef devastated by cyanide fishing, and three research fellows from National University of Singapore Tropical Marine Science Institute. We work with the fishermen who poisoned the reef with cyanide fishing. The same men reformed their ways to restore the local reefs.
STARR conducts trials to see whether active intervention can regenerate the reef, versus natural recovery (passive regeneration and no-take zones). Both coral growth and fish repopulation will be monitored.
Since July 2015, we have been running an annual scientific expedition. STARR 2018 will be the 4th annual expedition. We are looking for 8-12 expedition divers with a passion for conservation and research diving. I will be drawing on divers from SURG, URG and BURG this coming year.
STARR has expanded from a monitoring exercise to a coral nursery and replantation programme. I will talk more about the work we do at STARR when we meet. In 2018, the scientists intend to collect their data from:
– depth trial studies of nurseries planted at 6m, 9 m and 12m
– size class trials of 5 cm and 10 cm coral cuttings planted over various bommies
– corroborative data of reef cover from point intersect transects and butterflyfish count
This data will be used for research papers to be published in 2019-2020.
In addition, we will inventory-take the nurseries and transplants, and do active maintenance of the nurseries (namely cleaning algae and drupella from our coral recruits).
Our work covers:
– 3 concrete platforms covering the area of a football field
– 20 concrete turtles,
– 15 coral rope nurseries, and
– 11 coral tables
– transplants of mature nursery coral onto over 20 bommies.
It is quite a sight to behold.
Indicative costs based on a minimum of 8 expedition members to lift this off is A$1,125. This is an all-in pricing including food water coffee, twin-share en-suite lodging, transfers, 7 days of diving, 5 of which are 3-dive days and 2 “easy days” for rest, fun dives at Tulamben USS Liberty, all reef rehabilitation materials and equipment. IE., everything other than your dive gear, airfares and travel insurance. At the request of 2017’s expedition, I added more fun dives at Tulamben USS Liberty wreck, it isn’t all work and no play!
If more people come, shared overheads hence costs also come down. STARR 2017 with 17 expedition members costed A$850 per diver. This year, we will close our books once 12 expedition members sign up.
I look forward to seeing you all soon. Meantime, SURG members are welcome to email me privately to express their interest.
Elaine Kwee