Indonesian reef restored via underwater electrical structures

by Owen James

While it would have been far preferable not to bomb and poison the reefs of Pemuteran to the edge of oblivion in the first place, this restoration initiative by Dr Thomas Goreau using his ‘Biorock Process’ is pretty inspiring:

The method delivers safe, low voltage electrical currents via cables, and through seawater, to submerged metal reef structures. This causes dissolved minerals to crystallise out onto the structures as a white limestone substrate (similar to that which naturally makes up coral reefs and tropical white sand beaches), meanwhile accelerating the formation and growth of the skeletons of corals and other shell-bearing animals – at two to six times natural rates.

The structures eventually become rapidly colonised by a full range of coral reef organisms, including fish, crabs, clams, octopus, lobster and sea urchins. Species typically found in healthy reef environments are given an electrical advantage over the weedy organisms which often overgrow them in reefs stressed by humans.

According to Dr Goreau, if the current is maintained, coral reefs can often be restored in areas where water quality would prevent their recovery by any other method.

Read the full story at Science Alert.

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