OCEAN QUEST

DIVING WITH PURPOSE

The Ocean Quest Coral Propagation Program

Goals of Coral Propagation Program

The goal of this program is to connect local community in conservation that carries long term economic impact. It is a way for future income making for the coastal communities who are directly dependent on the sea. This program is introduced to bring awareness to the local communities about sustainability. By empowering the people with beneficial activity it shall help restore our coral reefs in a larger scale.


  • To help rehabilitate reefs that was destroyed by a natural disaster (Storm, elevated sea temperatures, etc)
  • To mitigate prior or impending damage to a reef from development.
  • To create opportunities that brings benefits to the local community.
  • To create a research platform for marine conservation and furtherance of science.

Overview

There are many conservation program involving people and the ocean. However most only yields short term benefits to the environment and the community. There are only a handful of activities that we can do to create long term benefits. Planting corals and planting mangroves are two similar activities that really nurture long term benefits although the later requires more understanding of its methodologies. It is believed that it is very difficult to make corals grow but in recent years experiments and research have shown just the contrary. Coral can be planted in many different ways. Different methodology yields different results. This program is developed from methodology adopted from coral propagation in captivity. Many coral species has been successfully propagated in tanks using this method. Applied in its natural environment the corals seem to thrive quickly with higher success rate compared to all other methods.

Besides the propagation methodology the most important aspect of this program is the bond that it creates among all the participants. Here everyone lends a hand and makes effort in saving our natural heritage for future generations. Participants, villagers, resort employees, divers and non-divers all make an effort for a common goal.

The Coral Propagation Program

This Coral Propagation Program is a 3 days program that involves traveling, water and beach activities and education. The entire experience is nothing like land based programs. Because the program involves water activity or more accurately the sea it makes the participants apply their survival abilities and therefore the bonding among them is far greater as compared to any land based programs.

During the program the participants shall be taught the techniques of coral “planting” and propagate them into their natural surroundings. Besides this there are other activities that fill the program. Diver participants gains insights of how coral conservation is carried out and shared their underwater experience with their non-diving friends. Non-divers gain firsthand experience of the entire process of coral planting including participating in the introductory dive that let them try SCUBA. It is a life time experience that perhaps encourages them to take up SCUBA diving as hobby.

A Coral Reef awareness talk is also included in the program to fill the evening time with some knowledge development activity for the participants. If time and weather permitting you may also add some other activities of your own.

The entire program is documented and presented to you at the end of the program. You may consider inviting representatives of the media to write about your commitment to community and conservation through this unique program.


Coral Propagation Program includes:

  • Coral propagation workshop
  • Awareness talks
  • Diving activities
  • Snorkeling activities
  • Discover SCUBA diving program

Progression of Training

The Ocean Coral Propagation education system has three levels:


1. Coral Propagation Workshop - this is a one day entry level workshop aimed at instilling basic knowledge of coral propagation. (information in this page is all pertaining to this workshop)


2. Coral Propagation Course - this is a three days comprehensive course for those wanting to start their own coral propagation project at selected locations.


3. Coral Propagation Trainer Course -  upon successful completion of this course the student is awarded teaching status which enable them to conduct workshops and certification courses.

Five Breakthroughs by OCEAN QUEST in Coral Reef Conservation

INTRODUCTION

The Ocean Quest programs on coral conservation embraces the approach of managing and rehabilitating coral habitats through technology. The research is built on basis of duplication of the natural ecosystems through study of its relative natural cycles. To achieve this objective studies are focused on areas crucial to coral survival. Auxiliary areas may include monitoring of water qualities, physical and biological parameters including enemies and threats to corals are included in the observations. New coral propagation techniques, technology and systems are developed along the path of our research. Our methodology is the body of our project and it shall continue to improve and conveyed to the public. This paper describes the general procedures of our standards that have been developed and design specifically to suit our objectives.

1. CONCEPTS OF BIO-ACQUIESCENCE

Unlike other coral propagation projects the Ocean Quest's concept rejects the use of man-made substance for our coral propagation. Substrate in our coral propagation program consists of natural live rock from the same area. To ensure that the correct substrate is chosen we have devised and include new tests and scientific terminology that we called “bio-acquiescence” test. How is bio-acquiescence different from bio-compatibility test? The answer is in the substance used. Bio-compatibility test involves materials introduced by man to the tissues of the organisms and observations are made based on tissue rejection. Bio-acquiescence test methodology test based on substances common to the organism’s tissues and that its acceptance to it is studied. Bio-acquiescence test yields far better results as compared to bio-compatibility test and lesser risk to the organism. It is the study of natural acceptance of corals to its substrate and the rates in which it will accept and attach to them. This introduction is the first in the scientific world pertaining to corals and its environment. This test helped us pinpoint what type of substrate corals have their preference to attach to. Coral can grow faster on the right substrate and this is proven in our coral propagation programs where coral is seen to bloom well on our rocks. We also discovered that tying coral fragments onto man-made substance like PVC can cause delayed growth and in some instance the polyps will begin to contract disease, turn black and slowly disintegrate.

2. OUR CORAL CATALYST - A20/EF58

Coral fragging systems used in captive coral propagation is adapted to our coral propagation techniques and the methodology and substance used is modified to suit our purpose. In researching for suitable and affordable bonding material we have also make another breakthrough with the introduction of our new coral catalyst/initiator A20/EF58. Made of organic substance and minerals the catalyst carries dual purpose. First it acts as an accelerator agent which helps ordinary cyanoacrylate gel to coagulate rapidly in sea water. Second, the catalyst also acts as a growth enhancer that help coral grow rapidly in the first week of planting. Our objective of bonding strength comes from the natural adherence of the coral to the substrate. The cyanoacrylate gel is only tacking the coral broodstock in place temporarily until the coral grow over it. Our test has shown that natural bonding takes place in as little as ten days after fragging. This invention is our first patented product and it will be continually researched and improved. Our latest development is this area is the new and improved formula A28/EF66 where the catalyst is also supplemented with antiseptic properties to prevent infection to the coral tissue.

3. EFFECTIVE COUNTERMEASURES

As preventive measures our research has developed technique to control and reduce the infestation of green hair and brown algae on the live rocks we used in our coral propagation process. Most researchers are aware that diatoms and algae can rapidly populate any bare surfaces introduced in the marine environment. To establish control over the infestation of green and brown algae we have introduce new treatment of our substrates by using the genetics of coralline. By biologically prepare our substrates with coralline treatment before attaching our corals can help lessen algae infestation. Coralline recruitment is crucial to act as medium that strengthens and bond coral colonies that forms the reef. Culturing coralline is part of our coral propagation program.

4. MANAGEMENT AND MONITORING METHODOLOGIES

Physical studies involve designing our mapping techniques and modifying existing methodologies to suit our coral propagation purposes. The process we call “macro-mapping” is introduced as micro cartography of the reef areas for purpose of managing coral planting strategies. The maps we produced are unique to our studies and are used in our planning and monitoring work. This paper describes simplified versions of our mapping process and with our training can be perfected to the highest details for general and scientific use. Macro mapping of reefs is the most practical and cost effective way to keep track of a small research site. Besides the mapping, Ocean Quest has also design their own systems of monitoring through qualitative and quantitative surveys.

5. EDUCATION SYSTEMS

To fulfill our commitment to the public we designed and developed complete educational systems which educate the public on coral propagation techniques as well as other aspects of coral conservation. In 2013 we launch our coral propagation workshop which help fund our coral monitoring activities at the islands. When we mention "complete" education system it means it consist of student kit, teaching aids, instructor manuals, workshop strategies and practical training. With well-structured education materials, training strategy and complete propagation system that goes with it is a package much needed by coral conservation to achieve broad scaled results. Everything is authentically designed and copyrighted by Ocean Quest. This is not a one-of education that last only on one sitting. The Ocean Quest education packages consist of training progression beginning from introductory workshop and up the ladder to the coral propagation trainer course. No other coral conservation organization in this country has education system as conducive as this. We received overwhelming response from many from Malaysia and abroad. As we are preparing for the coming season in 2015 we received more response from corporate bodies and institutions to work with communities to safe the reefs in our country. Which part of this development is our breakthrough? It is the simplified education that everyone can take part in it learning. When we could teach the public a simple step of coral propagation we can make large scaled coral restoration possible.

Trends and Developments in Ocean Quest

Ocean Quest’s rapid advancement in its development of their public education system in coral propagation and restoration has brought us to great distance. In 2014 we have expanded our operations to Brunei where we did several programs for the Department of Fisheries. The program is participated by the Minister of Primary Resource and Industry.

A second program in Brunei is for the SCOT/HSBC team that engaged our technology for a six month coral restoration project. This community project is supported by the Ministry of Youth, Brunei.

Recognizing the potential of Ocean Quest’s Coral Propagation education, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society adapted it for their global Sea Shepherd Dive program. With this partnership we have extended our campaign into the global arena. The partnership is sealed at ADEX in Singapore in April 2014. Consequently, we also present the partnership program at MIDE in Kuala Lumpur in June 2014.

The capacity of this program does not end just there. Conservation society from far away nations like Panama and Aruba has voice their interest in the Ocean Quest Coral Propagation Program.

With this positive response from around the world we have decided to add two new campaign in 2015. The programs namely the OSPREY program for schools and the Ocean Exploration program that aimed to explore and establish new sites for the diving industry and conservation. The OSPREY campaign is developed primarily to bring ocean science education to school levels. From the day it is launched, few international schools already voice interest to make it a curriculum at their school.

Program Structure

This program is structured to make coral propagation fun and educational. To achieve this expertise is gathered from all aspect of the program and it is put together to function as one body that work in a common goal – helping the community and raise awareness for conservation. This effort cannot succeed if it is implemented by a single entity. Sponsors, dive centers, community leaders, travel agents, consultants and relevant government bodies should be involved in the program.

Tasks and process of carrying out the program shall take at least 4 weeks to prepare. This is to ensure safety of participants as well as getting the program to run smoothly.

Benefits of Coral Propagation Programs

This program when implemented in the coastal or island settings shall bring short term as well as long term benefits to the sponsors and the local community. Environmental quality is also elevated with new coral growth at the reefs. Short term benefits can be seen during the program and long term benefits can be seen from its economics implication.


Short term benefits


  • Sponsors shall benefit from the branding and publicity generated from the occasion
  • Participants shall benefit from the experience gained from the program
  • Diving and travel industry shall benefit from demands of their services during the program

Long term benefits

  • Local community shall benefit from income generated from the coral garden propagated by this program
  • Increased fish population nearby the propagated areas
  • Data collected through long term monitoring can be used for research and education
  • Economics implication of this propagation program shall encourage local community to further propagate corals.
  • Awareness for coral reef conservation is built.

Who should participate in Coral Propagation Program?

The answer is – everyone. The initial look at this program may suggest that is it meant for divers. The perception is far from true. Non-divers actually plays important role in the program by helping in the process of “coral fragging”. This is an excellent program for the entire family to participate. It is educational and fun to the kids as well as adult participants.


Examples of Coral Propagation Programs

  • Coral Propagation can be part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It is an excellent attention gaining activity that can enhance branding besides helping the environment.
  • Coral Propagation can be part of co curriculum program for schools.
  • Broad Scaled Coral Restoration
  • A community run program
  • Research
  • A conservation program

Environmental Impact and Implications

As in any conservation project the key concern is whether the occasion, materials and the participant bring negative impact to the environment rather than helping it to improve. For this concern all aspect of this program has been carefully studied and improved. This program uses no manmade objects or structures like artificial reefs.

From coral seeding to the base substrate, everything is collected from the environment and returned to where they belonged. Coral seeding is collected from broken fragments found at site. Healthy living corals are left intact and undisturbed in this program. The base substrate or scientifically called “live rocks” is collect along the beach.

Prior training for the participants is provided by our designated training center. Instructions and hands on demonstration on techniques of coral fragging is also taught in the program. Methodologies are also modified to suit the size and number of participants to ensure that our presence did not induce stress to the environment.

Partnering in Community and Conservation

This Coral Propagation Program is invented as a platform to enable our expertise to be combined with your funding that makes a difference for environment and humanity. If you and your company are looking into doing something beneficial for future generations this is the program that you should consider. Partnering with us in this program shall put you among leaders in coral reef conservation. This program is the most comprehensive and effective in comparison to all other coral reef conservation projects. Our research and development of this program has put us on the benchmarks and we continually seek new and better approach to coral reef conservation. This is possible as our team consists of oceanographers and scientist who have over thirty years of experience. Best of all, this program is designed to compliment local communities on islands and coastlines and help them generate revenues in the long run.


Why Partnering with Us?


  • You can harness the our expertise in coral reef conservation
  • The program is the most comprehensive and effective
  • You help us educate coastline communities about living sustainably by conservation
  • This program is a good branding platform for your organization

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