Ocean Gardener Initiative
At 3W Dive, we understand that without our precious coral reefs, the diving world we know and love would be non-existent. And while many divers are extremely knowledgeable around the act of diving itself and even identifying fish, many are unaware of the foundations of a coral reef ecosystem, how to identify coral species, and the potential dangers corals can face from ongoing human contact.
A complex living network, this critical habitat provides food and shelter for creatures great, minuscule and everything in between. Up to 25% of all marine species make their home in coral reefs. Not to mention the sublime beauty they offer that we as divers are lucky enough to be able to explore! Coral colonies are the foundation of these reefs and the survival of our oceans.
Although to many divers, corals are just colourful underwater plants, they are living, extremely vulnerable animals. The role these living, breathing organisms play is one of the most crucial and one that the entire reef’s survival is based upon. Without corals, a reef would not exist. As divers that are exposed continuously to coral reefs, we must be well educated to ensure their survival and all of the incredible life they support.
The Marine Conservation Internship equips our divemaster interns with the skills necessary to dive further into coral farming and restoration throughout the internship, and apply the techniques we use to contribute to the welfare of our local eco-system.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE CORAL FARMING?
It helps coastal communities receive income for maintaining and gardening the ocean the same way they do on land. Part of the coral harvested is used to restore other parts of the reef.
The impact of this work is that they’ve given a livelihood to thousands of coastal families, while preserving and restoring their reefs. Ocean Gardener has planted tens of thousands of corals, and aim to level up the speed of restoration by using the various restoration methods adapted to each species of coral.
WHO IS OCEAN GARDENER?
Following the 1997-1998 ecomomic crisis in Indonesia and the extensive loss of income for coastal communities, Chalias saw an opportunity to transform live coral collection for aquariums into a farm-based solution, which would in turn give these communities another form of income.
Through coral mariculture so that corals didn’t need to be taken from the reef anymore, he was also able to provide a solution to produce corals to replant, thus restoring damaged reefs.
The first trial was made in Nusa Dua in 2000 as the licensing and legal aspect was overcome, we quickly installed new farms in North-west Bali, and moved away from resort rich area to less developed place such as Serangan.
Nicole started working as a dive professional in 2007 and being in love with coral she continued to notice recreational and professional divers pay very little attention to coral diversity.
After years of diving and searching for information online about coral diversity she founded the website www.ReefDivers.io as an outlet for scuba divers to seek advice and reference coral diversity in a fun engaging format. Here she published a Guide to Caribbean Corals and is currently working on a one for Indo-Pacific Corals.
Nicole can be seen giving presentations at conference and dive centers around the world about her coral identification guides.
What is the coral diver course?
After learning to spot coral growth forms, interns then learn to identify the most common coral genus, including five small polyp corals, five massive polyp corals, and five soft corals. Then once you’ve mastered these coral spotting skills, you will learn about coral farming you’ll be introduced to coral restoration, visit a coral farm and plant you own coral fragment to become a certified Ocean Gardener!
If you have an interest in marine biology and conservation and want to improve your knowledge of corals, this is an incredible program. You’ll have 5 beautiful dives and learn more about what you’re seeing in the ocean, all while contributing to the health of our reefs and our marine conservation efforts in the Gilis.
Once certified Ocean Gardener Coral Divers will be able to visit any Ocean Gardener projects and participate in ongoing Ocean Gardener coral restoration activities.
- Dive 1 – Discover Coral Diving, exploration general reef awareness, identifying growth forms
- Dive 2 – SPS Coral Identification
- Dive 3 – LPS Coral Identification
- Dive 4 – Soft Coral Identification
- Dive 5 – Coral fragmentation and coral farm maintenance
- Session 1 – Discover Coral Diving
- Session 2 – Corals Identification
- Session 3 – Coral Fragmenting Techniques
- Six knowledge reviews
- One final exam
- Ocean Gardener Professional Instruction
- Official Ocean Gardener Online Certification
- Recognition on OceanGardener.org
- Set of 3 Coral identification slates
MARINE CONSERVATION INTERNSHIP
During the Marine Conservation Internship, interns will help in monitoring the ongoing coral restoration project, learning even more about the ocean and ocean conservation. Interns will help fragment and care for corals throughout the internship at the Ocean Gardener Nursery, applying their new conservation and reef restoration skills and contributing to our local ecosystem.