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Planet Care Human Effort

86: Coral Regrowth

Problem:

Coral care has to take place locally.

Solution:

We wrote about some solutions for ccoral reefs in Solution #84 Here are some more.


Coral Vita, a coral reef restoration company set up 2015 in Washington, DC by Yale University grads Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern.

Using a process called micro-fragmentation pioneered by the Mote Marine Laboratory, Coral Vita uses a terrestrial farm in Palmas, USA, to grow coral. The system accelerates coral growth up to 50 times the natural rate or from decades to 6-18 months.

This is perfect for many coral species such as Brain or Great Star that serve as critical building blocks for reefs, but grow too slowly to be feasible for restoration projects using ocean-based nurseries. Coral Vita can grow these corals in months rather than decades.

In 2019, Coral Vita created the world’s coral regrowth farm in Grand Bahama, including electrical installation, plumbing and aquaculture tanks. The farm aims to restore the island’s corals reefs, featured in the Netflix film “Chasing Coral,” and provide restoration projects with hardier corals by working together with scientists, communities, coral farmers, businesses, investors and governments.

Although the initial plan is to grow about 10,000 corals per year and serve as an education and visitation center, the long-term goal is to be growing millions of corals every year, restoring reefs worldwide. (coralvita.com)

Tamil
From 2017, a team led by H. Malleshappa, head of the Tamil Nadu State Climate Change Cell have deployed a semi-circle of concrete artificial coral reef modules 820 ft (250 m) from the vulnerable Vaan Island in the Gulf of Munnar.

Each module is 8 ft (2.5 m) in width, 6.6 ft (2 m) in height and 3ft (1 m) in longitudinal length, and weighs 2 tons (1.8 tonnes) In the first two phases, 4,600 modules have been deployed in eight months. Following signs of regenerat, with the funding from Adaptation Fund, the total number of artificial reefs is being increased to 10,000 in two layers.

Florida
In 2019, scientists working on Project Coral at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach in Tampa have spawned an Atlantic pillar coral in a lab setting. www.flaquarium.org

This is a world-first coral reef restoration and research advancement in which Atlantic coral, living for several years at the Center as part of a genetic archive, has been reproduced through induced spawning, setting a new stage for saving coral reefs in Florida and the Caribbean. Project Coral works in partnership with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens to create coral spawn, or large egg deposits, in a lab.

London, UK
Jamie Craggs, aquarist at the Horniman Aquarium started Project Coral and in 2013 became the first organization globally to develop protocols that replicate natural reef conditions, and the triggers for mass spawning events, in the lab, to predict and induce land-based spawning in a fully closed aquarium lab setting in order to investigate, counter and repair the impact of climate change on coral reef health and reproduction.

The team started working on the research in 2014 with the Staghorn coral, but then the focus shifted to pillar coral because of a disease that has been devastating to the Florida Reef Tract. Pillar coral are now classified as almost extinct since the remaining male and female clusters are too far apart to reproduce. This conservation effort enables coral sexual reproduction to occur entirely outside of the ocean using innovative technology. It also opens up the potential for coral de-extinction.

Southampton
Researchers led by Prof Jörg Wiedenmann at The Coral Reef Laboratory of the University of Southhampton, England have discovered that in warming oceans when some corals, instead of bleaching white, suddenly display fluorescent coloring they are fighting to survive.(Southampton.ac.uk)

Korea

POSCO (Pohang Steel Company) in conjunction with the Research Institute of Science and Technology (RIST) and the Korean government have developed Triton, an artificial reef produced by steel slag, to create a healthy environment for marine life.

POSCO has supplied 1,418 units of Triton for marine forest projects such as artificial fish reefs executed by the government and municipalities. Triton is naturally made with high %ages of iron and calcium, which work to create the ideal conditions for seaweed and algae spore growth, and purifies contaminated sediment. These reefs can also help reef populations migrate to cooler waters. (poscoenc.com)

Mumbai
Siddharth Pillai, a teenage Class XI student from BD Somani School, Mumbai, India has found a way to make modular artificial reefs using 3D printing. He has named them after the late Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington.

In early 2019, several porous Linkin Park blocks, a combination of dolomite and cement in a 10-90 per cent ratio, weighing 24 lb (11 kg) each, were dropped near Puducherry in the Laccadive Sea. This design is replicable as well as stackable, enabling reefs as high as 3ft (1 m) and as wide as 66 ft (20 m) on the ocean bed. (bdsomaniinternationalschool.com)

France
Another solution has been developed during 2019 by David Branthôme, director of the Limousin Aquarium, and the I.Ceram company in Limoges, France: coral cuttings are installed on a piece of alumina (a special ceramic). Since ceramic is neutral, it does not have the disadvantages of plastic or concrete supports. (aquariumdulimousion.com)

Hong Kong
Architects and scientists at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) have developed a novel method of repairing a coral reef in the nearby Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park – they have designed and 3D-printed 128 hexagonal clay tiles whose complex structures encourages coral attachment.

Israel
Maoz Fine and a team at Bar-Ilan University, together with the coral research lab at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences on the Gulf of Aqaba in Eilat, Israel Israel having analysed why Red Sea corals are more resilient are investigating how their lessons could be used to influence coral reef health and resilience in the central Pacific Islands. (life-sciences.biu.ac.il)

Australia
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and its partners – including Southern Cross University – have also successfully pioneered a technique dubbed ‘coral IVF’ or larval reseeding. It is the first project of its kind to re-establish a population of juvenile corals from larvae settling directly on the reef in the hope the coral withstands the increasing threats to the reef. www.scu.edu.au

The team collects spawn from heat-tolerant corals that have survived bleaching, and rear millions of baby corals in specially designed tanks and coral nursery pools on the reef before delivering them onto target areas of damaged reefs to restore and repopulate them.

Divers use fine mesh nets to capture the microscopic eggs and sperm that float to the surface.The spawn is then placed in floating enclosures, designed by Professor Peter Harrison where they grow for up to a week before reseeding the baby corals (larvae) onto damaged reefs.

In another world first, robots are giving nature a helping hand by playing ‘stork” and delivering coral babies onto damaged reefs as part of the coral IVF technique. Known as LarvalBots, they are loaded with the coral larvae and cruise a LarvalBot trial just above the reef, spitting out the baby coral directly onto the targeted areas. a trial this year re-seeded an area of 3-hectares in just six hours.

What you can do: Adopt a coral at Coral Reef, join a coral conservation group or make a donation to their growing numbers.

Discover Solution 87: for bottles and buildings: cork

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