Coral Reefs Are Threatened with Extinction
Coral reefs and their eco-systems are over-stressed by pollution, commercial activities and climate-change factors. Coral-bleaching, ocean acidification, increased storm severity, habitat destruction and disease are all individually existential threats. The compounding effects of these forces are killing corals at an alarming rate.
Coral reefs cover less than 0.015% of our oceans, yet they harbor more than 25% of the ocean’s bio-diversity. No other eco-system occupies such a limited area while sustaining and propagating more diverse life-forms.
On a global scale, 50% of coral reefs have died, and a projected total of 90% of the world’s coral reefs are predicted to die by 2050, as the direct result of climate change. This is observed across the world, including the largest reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
If during a coral bleaching event water temperatures do not return to normal in a short period, the corals starve and die, followed swiftly by the total collapse of the entire eco-system
Mineral Accretion Technology for Coral Reef Restoration
Mineral Accretion Technology provides an electrical field that stimulates coral reefs to help them grow at a rate of 3 - 4x faster than normal, with a 95% survival rate during bleaching events, disease outbreaks and other disturbances. Moreover, higher survival rates of coral transplants grown in the presence of MAT have been reported.
The MAT electrical field causes a chemical reaction that allows calcium carbonate to form using dissolved minerals from the seawater. This then accumulates onto pre-made metallic structures that function as the cathode. Through this electrolytic mineral accretion, the structures "grow" and are more capable of surviving storms and other damage.
The low-voltage electrical field protects the metallic frames from corrosion and is harmless to marine life and scuba divers.
Using Mineral Accretion Technology for accelerated reef restoration involves two key steps:
Growing calcium carbonate on metal frames in seawater using an electrical field;
Grafting live coral fragments onto this calcium carbonate substrate, onto which the coral pieces will accrete, fuse and continue to thrive.
Mineral Accretion Technology for Coral Reef Protection
Until now, the focus of MAT projects have been to restore coral reefs that have been damaged or destroyed, either due to coral bleaching, commercial activities or storms. The greater potential however is to protect and preserve the coral reefs that are still healthy by deploying large MAT electrical fields before climate change induced stresses threaten to kill them.
Due to unabated green-house gas emissions, air and seawater temperatures continue to increase globally. It is unlikely that we will be able to prevent the predicted decline of coral reefs, however it may be possible to protect and preserve a significant part of the existing coral reef tracts and their fragile eco-systems if MAT can be further developed and deployed cost-effectively on an industrial-scale worldwide.
Mineral Accretion Technology accelerates coral growth rates 4 - 5x
Learn more about coral reefs, MAT and its potential applications in the Download & Links section.