First artificial coral modules placed off Caribbean island to restore dying reefs

Coral reefs are one of many ecosystems most weak to the local weather disaster. The Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change has warned that if international warming reaches even two levels Celsius above pre-industrial ranges, 99 p.c of them will die.

But these distinctive ecosystems, which at present occupy lower than 0.1 p.c of ocean area, help greater than 25 p.c of marine biodiversity. To assist restore and defend these vital habitats, the revolutionary OceanShot undertaking positioned its first man-made “coral modules” off the coast of Antigua and Barbuda on Monday.

“That is our moonshot—however as an alternative of capturing up, we’re capturing down,” OceanShot co-founder and climatologist and marine biologist Dr. Deborah Brosnan mentioned in a press launch. “With OceanShot, we’re restoring a spot that’s essential to human survival as we speak – in addition to our future.” With out wholesome oceans, we cannot be right here.”

OceanShot was launched a 12 months in the past by Brosnan and philanthropic entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria to assist restore reefs which are already struggling. It’s supported by the International Citizen Discussion board and the Skilled Affiliation of Diving Instructors (PADI).

Extra coral is at present being misplaced each day than could be restored in 10 years, and the world’s oceans have already misplaced half of their reefs. International warming has destroyed 14 p.c of reefs between 2010 and 2020 alone, in keeping with knowledge from the International Coral Reef Monitoring Community, reported by The Hill.

Warming ocean temperatures are answerable for coral bleaching, the place scorching water drives away the algae that give corals vitamins and colour. Along with bleaching, the local weather disaster additionally threatens corals as elevated carbon dioxide within the oceans results in ocean acidification. Reefs are additionally threatened by extra localized air pollution from agriculture and coastal improvement, in addition to overfishing.

The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is an instance of a spot whose reefs have nearly utterly died, which is partly why it was chosen as the primary website of the OceanShot undertaking, in keeping with the press launch. The nation has suffered from the lack of its reefs, which defend the islands from storm surges and forestall erosion. A few of its seashores are disappearing at a price of 10 toes per 12 months.

“The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has proudly pledged its full help for OceanShot from the outset,” Prime Minister Gaston Brown mentioned within the press launch. “We’re the primary nation the place the undertaking’s scalable options have been carried out. Prioritizing ocean sustainability and a blue economic system for our residents are among the many most vital initiatives being developed in Antigua and Barbuda.”

OceanShot spent a 12 months creating its restoration undertaking with scientists from a wide range of disciplines in addition to native residents. It contains three predominant parts:

  1. Coral Reef Modules: These are man-made buildings designed to offer habitat and defend shorelines. The primary ones had been made by Reef Cells.
  2. 2000 Corals: These corals are grown by the neighborhood to be “planted” on the modules.
  3. Residing Laboratory: That is Barbuda’s ongoing experimentation website for reef restoration.

The primary 5 modules had been positioned off the coast of Coco Level in Barbuda on Monday, Brosnan introduced on Instagram.

“We made historical past as we speak,” she mentioned on Instagram.

The group additionally positioned AI cameras on the seabed to watch the success of the undertaking.

Whereas OceanShot began in a single location within the Caribbean, Brosnan hoped to see it develop to different islands sooner or later.

“This isn’t only a science undertaking, this can be a full-scale resolution that might be the reply to saving small island nations,” she mentioned. “We now know the way to design and construct reefs and find them to maximise coastal advantages, in addition to revitalize fisheries and the blue economies of native communities.”

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