Can 3-D Printing Save Coral Reefs?

Published November 22, 2016

Scientists are finding new ways to engineer coral reefs to safeguard our oceans using 3-D printing technology!

Coral reefs are vital to the health our ocean environments. They protect coastlines, provide habitats for marine life and ensure life for many ocean dwelling creatures. Due to human activity, diseases and damage caused by climate change, many reefs are rapidly disappearing.caribbean-coral-reef

Fabien Cousteau, a marine scientist and conservationist, has teamed up with the Harbour Village Beach Club on the Caribbean Island of Bonaire to print and test 3-D models of the endangered coral to help solve this problem.

The artificial coral is printed in the same shape, texture and even chemical makeup of natural corals. Developing the printed corals to mimic the organic coral helps coral polyps adhere to the replicas as if they are the real thing! Additionally, algae, crabs and fish species will be attracted to these artificial corals as the environment around them flourishes.

3-D-printed-coral

Photo courtesy of Reef Design Lab.

Building on the success of other coral restoration projects, it is the hope of the team to achieve an organic reef and develop a vibrant ecosystem around it.

To learn more about the 3-D printed coral, click here! 

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