Written by Maldives Halal Travel
Soneva has recently launched the AquaTerra center at Soneva Fushi, located in the Maldives' Baa Atoll. The state-of-the-art conservation, education, and science facility aims to strengthen the resort's focus on sustainability and support its ongoing efforts to understand, conserve, and regenerate the natural environment surrounding the resort, both on land and sea. AquaTerra will serve as the hub for Soneva's conservation efforts, including the Soneva Foundation Coral Restoration Program, which aims to restore the coral reef systems around Soneva Fushi and create a coral hub for the Maldives.
AquaTerra will educate Soneva's guests about the local ecosystem through inspirational experiences and host cutting-edge scientific research through partnerships with universities and visiting scientists. Sonu Shivdasani, co-founder and CEO of Soneva, emphasized the resort's commitment to sustainability, stating that "At Soneva, we will never stop striving to be more sustainable and continue to pioneer initiatives that protect our natural environment and precious resources." AquaTerra not only enables the resort to offer its guests a unique experience and a variety of learning opportunities around conservation but also strengthens Soneva's own conservation efforts, allowing them to collaborate with scientists from around the world.
AquaTerra will also support Soneva's Terrestrial Biology team, including its groundbreaking work on eliminating mosquitoes at Soneva's Maldivian island resorts using sustainable and environmentally friendly mosquito management traps, with no harmful chemical fogging. The team is also working on a new project to tackle the hairy caterpillars that live on the islands' Indian almond trees.
The AquaTerra center houses a spawning and rearing laboratory, developed with the team from Coral Spawning Lab, to conduct assisted evolution and create heat-resilient super corals, and a 3D-Printing laboratory to produce coral substrate. Later in 2023, Soneva Foundation will also fund the installation of a micro-fragmenting laboratory, created with micro-fragmenting expert Dr. David Vaughan, with 28 outdoor tanks that can produce up to 100,000 corals per year, as well as live streaming cameras with fish recognition software at the coral nursery, to combine with live data from a SmartBuoy.
To support the Coral Restoration Program, guests are also able to adopt a coral table to help regenerate the reef over the next decade. Priced from US $1,000 per table, each table is personalized with a carved name tag, and sponsors receive a certificate and an exclusive photo of their coral table. AquaTerra will also be used as the location for a range of short educational courses for young Sonevians through the Soneva Academy, and will be hosting visiting scientists and Masters and PhD students to conduct part of their research at Soneva Fushi.
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