October 06, 2017

Repairing our Oceans: Coral Reefs



 Nowadays it is not a secret that our oceans are polluted. There are various causes of ocean pollution such as plastic accumulation, nuclear waste, industrial waste, and many others. All of these pollutants are steadily breaking down ecosystems that have been in the sea for for centuries. Beaches, tidal pools, deep seas, bays, and coral reefs are all being severely damaged. With the dire need to clean and repair the already damaged ecosystems, many entrepreneurs are putting various plans into action. Various methods of cleaning the plastic out of the ocean are currently being initiated which would help the oceans overall. But what about coral reef repair, the ecosystems in the ocean that support the largest and most complex food chains? Various projects have begun that have showed promising results.

When you think of a shipwreck underwater, you do not imagine it would be teeming with life. But over time, every inch of a sunken ship will slowly turn into an ecosystem much like a coral reef. And in recent years, various parties, such as conservation groups and even artists, have been sinking various objects, such a statues and old subway cars, in order to help rebuild the damaged marine ecosystems. Now the process takes time and is not always quick to happen.

In the recent years, marine scientists have developed an improved process for coral reef promotion and have called it biorock technology. A piece of steel, of any shape or size, has a low voltage direct current run to it from an electrical source from the shore. The low voltage on the steel interacts with the natural seawater minerals and begins to form limestone on the steel. Limestone is very close to the makeup of coral skeletons and due to this, provides a perfect habitat for new and damaged coral. Keeping the current running while new corals are actively growing has shown to even stimulate growth and generate stronger and hardier corals. With this procedure, reefs can be brought back from a severely damaged state and may be even greater than before. The marine life that is brought back to these reefs can help bring balance in severely deteriorated ecosystems.

With an actual solution that is already being used in various places around the world, there is a new hope in helping heal our oceans from years of neglect. I know I'll be looking forward to scuba diving at some newly formed reefs. ‘Til next type - M.

Written by Michael Dour