Last week (Feb 8th – 11th), the Mamanucas was represented at the very first coral identification workshop that was held in Suva. Diana & Filo of MES, Rosemary Dautei of Reef Safari Diving, and Anthony Apao of South Sea Cruises were among the 20 participants who attended the workshop.

The Coral Identification Capacity Building Programme together with the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas (FLMMA) organized the workshop to introduce the new Coral Finder guide compiled by Russell Kelley. The Coral Finder which is the first of its kind, is designed to guide the user through different steps into identifying the genus of a particular coral. A very effective tool indeed the Coral Finder was able to guide the participants into recognizing 30 genera of corals at our field sites during the workshop. Fiji is said to have a little over 60 genera of corals and with this tool on hand, distinguishing different genera will become a much less stressful activity. Assissting Russell Kelley with the training workshop were coral specialists Rachael Pears, Emre Turak, and Lyndon Devantier. They were a competent team who were very helpful and also successful in getting all the participants to understand the very basics of coral identification. Most importantly helping us to link what we see in the field to what’s in the Coral Finder to arrive at an answer and then further confirm our answers with the assistance of the three volumes of the Corals of the World by Charlie Veron. MES is really excited about this new tool and cannot wait to visit our sites to make lists of the different genera that occupy our reefs and also note the difference in diversity of our reefs.