April 11, 2024 at 12:36 pm

How A Steel Frame Resurrected An Entire Coral Reef And Could Provide A Solution For Saving The Oceans

by Trisha Leigh

Coral reefs around the world are dying, largely due to climate change and other alterations humans are forcing on the environment.

Scientists and ocean-lovers everywhere have been desperate to find ways to save them, and now, this steel frame just might give us all hope.

The coral reef in question was unquestionably dead, but now transplanted coral is flourishing on a man-made skeleton.

It took four years for a team of scientists from Indonesia and the United Kingdom to restore the reef with a transplanted metal grid. Their project took place off the coast of Indonesia in the South Sulawesi province.

Their paper states the reef was destroyed by fishermen who use explosives to kill and capture fish four decades ago.

Source: Cell.com

The study, performed at the Mars Coral Reef Restoration Program, relied on “reef stars.” These are hexagonal structures made of steel and coated with sand, all made locally.

They placed them strategically on the sea floor, where a thriving coral reef once thrived. The network trapped and stabilized floating dead coral rubble and transplanted healthy, live coral onto the skeletons.

The result? Restoration sites that are “indistinguishable” from healthy natural reefs in most aspects.

Not all aspects, though, as marine biologist Timothy Lamont points out the new ones lack diversity.

“When any ecosystem recovers from damage, whether it is recovering naturally or because of some man-made artificial restoration processes, the first years always look different from what the end result would be.”

Source: Cell.com

Even so, the project has been a huge success.

Climate change and warmer ocean temperatures are poised to do great damage to natural reefs all around the world.

Maybe they could even figure out how to transplant coral that can thrive in warmer temperatures.

A girl can dream.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read a story that reveals Earth’s priciest precious metal isn’t gold or platinum and costs over $10,000 an ounce!