Underwater home-building

High-tech reefs for homeless corals

We are losing our reefs. Fast.

When you think coral reef, you think colour, and life. These incredible places are homes, breeding grounds and restaurants for millions of animals. They are a unique visual wonder for anyone who sees them. A swirling mass of motion and action greets those lucky enough to visit, and one cannot help but be inspired and intrigued.

But they are being destroyed like never before, by us.

Reefs around the world are being exploited by overfishing on an industrial scale. Climate change is warming our ocean, causing coral bleaching, and death.

The future isn’t bright for these incredible environments. Something must change.

“If we don’t figure out ocean infrastructure we’re going to lose the reefs.”

Melody Brenna

If you build it, they will com

Melody Brenna is the CEO and Co-Founder of a project called Intellireefs, run by the Reef Life Foundation. They have created a material called Oceanite, which they are using to rebuild coral reefs.

“If we don’t figure out ocean infrastructure and come up with a new reef structure, that can be deployed all over the world, we’re going to lose the reefs,” Melody tells us.

Oceanite attempts to mimic natural underwater rocks, which corals need to grow on, in the best way possible. It took the team 20 years of painstaking work to develop the mineral rich material. Oceanite is now being used to restore existing reefs as well as build new ones.

 

“Within one year, the rebuilt reef is 100% covered with new life, increasing biodiversity by up to 400%.”

Intellireefs

The building blocks

The Oceanite is made into structured blocks, which are then transported out into the ocean. Divers carefully build the new Oceanite reef, so that it mimics the natural reef in the area. It is then left to flourish naturally and monitored regularly by scientists.

After building the new reefs, the Intellireef team have seen some amazing results. Life quickly returns, and the colourful reef starts to grow. Within just over one year, the rebuilt reef is 100% covered with new life, increasing biodiversity by up to 400%.

Led by nature

“The way to make something successful in nature, is to mimic nature in the very best way that science can,” says Melody. ‘This will lead to better reef health, and an opportunity for reefs to recover from the stresses we put on them due to climate change.’

We are all part of the reason that reefs around the world are suffering. Our impact as humans is causing sea temperatures to rise, putting stress on marine life.

Solutions like Intellireefs can help to start restoring and protecting the ocean, but we all need to act together, before it’s too late.

If we are all part of the problem, we can all be part of the solution. Let’s make sure the ocean is full of colour for future generations to enjoy.

Share this:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Learn what you can do to take action.

More science stories

GenO Ezine

Download the GenO ezine for more information and resources.