Our home, planet earth, is undergoing incredible environmental degradation in a variety of different areas. The leading cause of the damage comes from human development and consumption. The oceans are for many people, a distant and foreign prevalent component of the earth’s crust. Beneath the ocean’s surface, coral reefs are a critical feature that stabilizes the ocean’s health. Contemporary anthropocentric behavior has lead to a catastrophic slaughter of coral reefs around the world. Marine biodiversity is in immense pressure and fish stocks and dropping critically. Local fishing communities are strongly dependent on seafood for survival, and a considerable percentage of those people don’t contribute to the obliteration of corals. The death of coral reefs starts with the event called bleaching. When reefs start to bleach, usually, water temperatures have risen, and corals lose their colorful pigments. The implications of the destruction of coral banks are insurmountable, and millions of people will feel the burden.
The bright side behind the ocean’s terrifying future is that scientists are developing new technologies and strategies to combat and mitigate coral bleaching’s impact. One incredible approach that has surfaced after much research is the action of using human-made reefs to substitute corals in areas where bleaching has been more severe. These human-made structures may range from old cars and ships to purposely build concrete structures. The fabricated reefs have the potential of bringing benefits for both marine and human life. According to the Men’s Journal, “Artificial reefs are effective in that they draw in many marine species and create a habitat for them. As a result, they attract many snorkelers and divers, doing wonders for their neighboring local economies and potentially eliminating some of the stress on nearby natural reefs” (p.5). The prospect of the man-made reefs looks promising, but critical steps are also taken to ensure its success. Risks of natural habitat damage, pollution, and geological degradation are present. The public may rely on these risk pillars and think that man-made reefs shouldn’t be a solution, but research strongly suggests that desperate measures should be taken and that the benefits outweigh the risks heavily.
The Reef Life Foundation is currently leading the development of the artificial reefs, and they have created their unique man-made reefs. This exclusive feature is even more exciting then shipwrecks and concrete formations. The reef developed is named IntelliReefs, and its primary goal is to promote marine species biodiversity with a site-specific material called Oceanite. Marine systems demand a great variety of variables to be fully healthy. The Reef Life Foundation states that “regular cement substrates cannot accommodate these marine organism needs. Oceanite is a complex matrix of minerals, developed specifically for diverse coral growth and immediate integration with local eco-systems” (p.1). IntelliReefes have a fantastic feature that makes them expand naturally and so regenerating the reef yearly. The capability of coral larvae to be able to attach to the IntelliReefs and develop with health is extraordinary, and a significant component of this human developed reef. Projects launched in Sint Marteen by the foundation had exceptional success, “IntelliReef structures in Sint Maarten had nearly 100% coverage of biological organisms after just 14 months” (p.1). Artificial reefs have other fascinating utilities. Reefs are a natural barrier that protects coastlines from impacting waves. Barriers lead to higher real estate protection and value. The reefs also bring incredible income to local communities with a new original from eco-tourism. Healthy reefs attract tourists from all over the world, and Intellireefs allows them to visit amazing reefs while learning more about them and even being able to plant their own reef offsprings to help the ecosystem. In addition, constructed reefs aid in reestablishing depleted fish stocks for billions of people who depend on seafood daily.
Artificial reefs are fundamental step scientists and organizations take towards the regeneration of coral reefs and oceanic biodiversity. The Reef Life Foundation provides an impressive and effective way citizens may help and get involved from far away. Donations are one of the most effective ways to help with the project. They are divided into separate amounts, and you choose excatly what part of the proposal you want to help with, and monthly payments are also available. The public can also design dive parks that help regenerate reefs and get a consultation on sustainable maritime development. We share a responsibility in saving these magnificent living beings that provide wonderful benefits for us humans. With science and research, organizations are being able to radically change the strategies on helping coral reefs, and results are promising and rewarding.