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  Today Online 31 Jul 07
Coral nursery off Semakau
Broken fragments to be re-grown close to dumping grounds
Nazry Bahrawi

Straits Times 31 Jul 07
Coral nursery for garbage island
By Shobana Kesava

NParks website 27 Jul 07
Job vacancies at the coral nursery

Channel NewsAsia 30 Jul 07
Singapore unveils first coral nursery to conserve underwater habitat

SINGAPORE : Singapore now has a coral nursery. It is located on the shores off Semakau Island on Singapore's southern coast. Its aim is to conserve and grow the country's natural corals.

It is estimated that three-fifths of Singapore's reefs off its southern coast have been lost over the past 200 years because of rapid economic growth.

So a two-year conservation effort is trying to reverse that effect. It is focusing on using fragments of naturally-broken hard coral to protect existing reefs.

The location has been chosen because of the amount of light and oxygen available to the corals, so that they can grow and spawn. The corals are placed about three metres under the seawater at mid-tide on the seabed.

Scientists hope that after a year, the corals can be transplanted to reefs around Singapore's southern coast. They believe the coral will grow to form part of a new coral reef.

To maximise the chances of success, the coral is grown on the rubble and is then secured onto plastic platforms. This will make sure they are protected.

"That will immediately remove the impact of sediments, which otherwise would accumulate around them. And we'll also secure the fragments so that they don't roll about. This helps to stabilise them and improve their chances of survival," said Professor Chou Loke Ming, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS).

Helping other species survive also has other benefits.

According to the project partners, chemical compounds are found in corals as well as in the organisms living on them. These compounds can also be used to test for contaminants in developing drugs and vaccines.

So project organisers, NParks, NUS and Keppel Corporation, hope more corals can lead to more opportunities to grow Singapore's bio-chemical industry. - CNA /ls

Today Online 31 Jul 07
Coral nursery off Semakau
Broken fragments to be re-grown close to dumping grounds
Nazry Bahrawi nazry@mediacorp.com.sg

IT HOUSES Singapore's first offshore dumping ground, but now Pulau Semakau will also be the site of the country's first coral nursery.

A stone's throw away about 100 metres from the Semakau landfill, the underwater nursery will become the surrogate home of coral fragments broken by passing vessels or other forces. If left unattached, these fragments will die.

So, in the next few weeks, experts from the National Parks Board, Keppel Corporation and National University of Singapore three of four corporations involved in the project will scour the waters off Singapore for such fragments.

The National Environment Agency, will provide expertise in water quality management, which includes monitoring pollution in the area around the nursery. Keppel Corporation will donate $250,000 over the next two years to fund the project.

At the nursery, these collected fragments will be tied down to test beds and allowed to grow in a controlled environment, away from boats and ships. About a year later, fragments that are large and healthy enough will then be transplanted to naturally occurring reefs around Singapore.

The site off Semakau, to the south of Singapore, was chosen for two reasons: It already houses a thriving coral population, and provides just the right amount of light and oxygen they need to grow.

At yesterday's launch, Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu hailed the project as a good example of how the Republic can balance economic development with environmental conservation.

"Through careful management, we have allowed a rich marine ecological system to thrive side-by-side with a landfill. Now, we can also boast of having a coral nursery close to the landfill," she said.

Conserving the coral reefs can also help Singapore's thriving biomedical research industry.

"There is also potential to position Singapore as a resource and knowledge hub for biodiversity conservation, providing quality services such as comprehensive genetic samples for research," she added.

Singapore is estimated to have lost more than 60 per cent of its coral reefs due to its rapid development and industrialisation.

Straits Times 31 Jul 07
Coral nursery for garbage island
By Shobana Kesava

SAVE our coral reefs is the usual mantra of green activists, but Keppel Group is doing just that.

It is setting up the region's first coral nursery, and has committed $250,000 to a two-year project to halt the decline of coral reefs around one of Singapore's southern islands.

The 100 sq m coral nursery is being developed in the waters by the landfill that makes up Pulau Semakau.

Mr Chan Soo Sen, head of Keppel's corporate social responsibility drives, said its initiative was not for the tax breaks.

'We are heavily involved in the marine industry, building oil rigs and properties near the sea. This way, we are doing our part to restore the ecological system,' he said.

The new nursery complements the Government's conservation efforts at Pulau Semakau, an artificial island filled with Singapore's non-incinerable waste.

The international journal New Scientist, extolling these efforts to balance conservation with landfill needs, had this poser: Is Pulau Semakau Singapore's 'Garbage of Eden'?

As for the coral nursery project, it has been deemed safe by the National Environment Agency, which said the landfill does not leach out to pollute surrounding waters.

Marine biologists from the National University of Singapore and the National Parks Board are overseeing the project, situated in clean sunlit waters about 3m below the sea surface, that provide nutrients for growth.

Two divers will collect broken bits of slow-growing hard coral from damaged reefs in Singapore waters, and secure them to an artificial reef bed, made of recycled PVC pipes and cable ties left over from oil rigs.

As the corals grow, a small group of volunteer divers will keep them clean of sedimentation. Keppel said 20 staff members have already signed up.

In about a year, when the corals are healthy enough to reproduce, they will be relocated to ideal breeding grounds in Singapore waters.

Marine biologists estimate that 60 per cent of Singapore's coral reefs have been destroyed by urban development.

NParks website 27 Jul 07
Job vacancies at the coral nursery

*Asst Project Officer/Project Officer (Coral Nursery Project)
*Reference: CON/SO/270707/01
Posted Date: 27 Jul 07

The National Parks Board (NParks) is embarking on a project to establish a field coral nursery in Singapore. This project will be carried out jointly with the Marine Biology Laboratory of the National University of Singapore, sponsored by Keppel Corporation and supported by the National Environment Agency.

Coral reefs in Singapore boast a high biodiversity. However, since the founding of Singapore in 1819, our reefs have been impacted by various anthropogenic stresses, resulting in many reefs having sub-optimal hard coral cover and diversity.

This two-year project seeks to enhance hard coral cover and diversity in Singapore by the propagation of new colonies onto our reefs. The establishment of a field nursery seeks to provide this hard coral resource on a long-term and sustainable basis.

NParks is inviting applicants to fill two positions for this project.

Diploma in a related discipline
Must be an experienced SCUBA diver (preferably Advanced-level and above certification)
Able to work extensively in the field
A good team player, able to multitask and work under pressure
Self-motivated, versatile and resourceful
Good organisation and communication skills

Candidates with a Degree in Biological Sciences or any related discipline from a recognized university will be considered for the Project Officer position
Appointment will be on contract basis and salary will commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Education Level Diploma
Job Function Civil Services, Nature Conservation
Job Location Singapore
Job Type Full Time, Contract
Work Experience year(s)
We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be notified

Singapore's biodiversity may provide potential cures for diseases
Channel NewsAsia 19 Jul 07

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