29 December 2011

Bringing Coral Reefs Rapidly Back From the Brink

"I was devastated. Basically, all the corals were dead. It was gravel and sand," Rani recalled.

But when German architect and marine scientist Wolf Hilbertz told her about a discovery he had made in the 1970s, the diver's ears pricked up. _Discovery


The story talks about how corals were killed by cyanide poisoning and dynamite fishing. The same kind of devastation of coral reefs occurs after severe storms. Fortunately, coral is incredibly prolific at spreading its seed far and wide across seas and oceans -- spreading over hundreds of miles from the parent reef.

Hilbertz had sought to "grow" construction materials in the sea, and had done so by submerging a metallic structure and connecting it to an electric current with a weak and thus harmless voltage.

...When he tested out his invention in Louisiana in the United States, Hilbertz saw that after a few months oysters progressively covered the whole structure, and colonized the collected limestone.

More experiments were carried out and the same phenomenon was confirmed for corals.

"Corals grow 2-6 times faster. We are able to grow back reefs in a few years," Thomas J. Goreau, a Jamaican marine biologist and biogeochemist, told AFP.

Goreau began working with Hilbertz in the mid-1980s to develop Biorock technology, and he has continued their work since Hilbertz's death four years ago.

When Rani saw the discovery, it gave her an idea for how she might save "her" bay.

She decided to expand the project to 22 structures using her own money with the help of Taman Sari, the holiday resort in front of the coral restoration project.

...Today there are around sixty of these "cages" in Pemuteran bay, across a surface of two hectares, and the reef has not only been saved from near-death, it is flourishing better than ever before.

"Now we've got a better coral garden than we used to have," said Rani.

Biorock not only revives the corals but it makes them more resistant... _Discovery
Of course, cyanide and dynamite -- not to mention storms and trophy-taking tourists -- are quite hard on a reef. How wonderful to find such an easy remedy for such an unsightly problem.

For reporters to claim that the fluctuating ocean temperatures are killing reefs -- reefs which evolved to survive in a wide range of temperatures and dissolved CO2 levels -- is pure dishonesty and political activism.

It is past time for science reporters to come clean, and to report science news honestly and in a balanced fashion. The current crop of science journalists too often come across as just plain biased and incompetent.

First published at Al Fin Potpourri


Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts