Our methodology

All natural, non invasive

Coral are complex organisms. To be able to grow and cultivate coral for the purpose of coral reef restoration requires an understanding of the organism. This process has been achieved through scientific experimentation. If we compare corals to plants and trees we find that they are all complex in nature. But why is that people readily knew how to plant and cultivate trees but not corals? The answer, quite simply, is that on land we have been planting, growing and cultivating trees for thousands of years. With coral, we have only recently become aware, in the last 35 years, of the need to take action so that we can re-habilitate the damaged and dying reefs.  

There are several methods of coral propagation around the world, many of which use questionable methodology including metal grids, PVC piping, leather and even electrolysis. What drew organizations like Sea Shepherd and Reef Guardian to Ocean Quest was its all-natural method. The founder of Ocean Quest, Anuar Abdullah, has spent most of his life on the coral reefs of Malaysia, observing their behavior and life cycles, and conducting his own research.

Our founding principle

Rebuild damaged reefs

The founding principle of Ocean Quests’ Coral Propagation Program (CPP) is that the program is ONLY used to rebuild damaged reefs, NOT to create new reefs where they were not previously found. Besides restoring our reefs, this program goes beyond the sea to target the root cause of the problem – impoverished local coastal communities who are forced to harvest coral for their livelihood. Ocean Quest aims to involve the local communities in its CPPs, thereby providing them with an alternative source of income that is aimed at protecting, rather than destroying, the coral reefs.


Collect, attach, re-plant

The simplicity of Ocean Quest’s program is quite unique, the secret being a patented catalyst that Anuar has developed. After a site has been surveyed for propagation, divers or snorkelers collect broken fragments of live coral and small live rock from the location, and bring both to shore in baskets. Participants in the program sort and prepare the coral, before attaching the 2cm high fragments to the live rock. The catalyst is then used to help bond the coral quickly to the rock. After two weeks, the catalyst dissolves the bonding agent leaving the coral attached by itself to the live rock, and there is no glue or toxin left behind.


Re-populate the reef

The corals are then taken out to chest deep water at low tide and placed on the seabed in a temporary nursery area. After several months the coral will have grown considerably, up to approximately 10cm. At this time divers can then transplant these corals and place them back in the reef replacing the dying and damaged coral that was there before.

The education system

Opening up to a wider audience

By teaching the public the simple techniques of coral propagation the scale of the conservation has increased tremendously. Through education and training a much larger platform for conservation of corals and the coral reef has been achieved. The system is similar to the replanting of a forest where the initial propagation begins in an area called the nursery. A coral nursery is a designated area where fragments of corals are propagated, monitored and maintained until they grow to a size suitable for replanting. Coral nurseries are long term projects and they require regular monitoring and maintenance just like nurseries for trees on land.

Concept of coral reef rescue

Working with a systematic plan

The Ocean Quest Coral Reef Rehabilitation system consists of a systematic plan that can be used to help rescue coral colonies threatened by disease, human destruction or natural disaster. This method includes five basic steps:

1) Coral rescue

2) Coral propagation

3) Nursery management

4) Coral transplantation

5) Reef management.

The concept follows a similar strategy to that of the forest rehabilitation system. It consists of brood stock collection and extraction protocols, nursery management and transplantation to the damaged coral reefs. The parent coral colonies in the nursery remain to grow and continually provide a source of corals for transplantation. This makes the system the most conservative approach of coral reef rehabilitation available.

Coral nursery system

Time and cost efficient, organized work

Coral nurseries are segmented into rectangular plots of 2 meters wide by 5 meters long. Each plot contains several species of corals. Each square meter contains at least 8 planted pieces of brood stock.

By segmenting the nurseries it is possible to conduct systematic monitoring, it saves processing time and makes it more cost efficient. In just a short time the nursery makes planning and management possible. Other benefits of the nursery system includes the involvement of research, strategic development, employment, and ultimately restoration of the environment. The Ocean Quest’s coral nursery system is built like a coral city. It consists of several different type of nurseries with specific purposes. Coral colonies threatened by disease are planted in a quarantine nursery for observation and treatment. There is also the training nursery where we conduct training and courses. This training nurseries are the most seen in our publications. The Ocean Quest coral brood stock nursery is where the corals are grown and cared for. The coral broodstock nursery shall be off limits of the public.