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New coral reef restoration technology aims to reverse climate change damage

Deborah Brosnan, a marine scientist remembers “Feels like a visitor to an amazing party” on her dive in a bay near Saint Barthelemy Island in the Caribbean. where she swims above the reef with nurse sharks, sea turtles and countless colorful fish.

But on her return trip after Hurricane Irma destroyed the island in 201

7, she did another reef diving. and was shocked by what she saw.

“Everything is dead,” she said in an interview with Reuters. “No sharks, no sea turtles, no seagrass, no live coral. I feel like I’ve lost a friend.”

Recent research has shown that warmer atmospheric temperatures and rising sea levels contribute to more frequent destructive tropical storms.

Brosnan’s experience has helped ignite the mission of building reef restoration technologies. The project will cover 1 hectare (2.6 acres) of dead coral reefs off the coast of the Caribbean at Antigua and Barbuda.

The project, called Ocean-Shot, was announced Thursday at the Global Citizens Forum. The technology, funded by American entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell Hair Products, mimics the design and shape of natural reefs to provide an opportunity for colonization by corals and other marine life. other

The built reef module will help protect nearby coastal communities from storm surge and rising sea levels. project officials said

Brosnan, whose Washington-based company is leading the effort, said scientists will test new technologies. aimed at accelerating coral growth It would naturally take up to a decade to restore 1 hectare. A nearby coral nursery will grow several species that will eventually help replenish the reef.

Ocean-Shot launches at a crucial moment. Scientists estimate that more than half of the world’s coral reefs have been lost. and the rest are at risk. (Graphics on coral reefs)

From the Caribbean to the Western Pacific The impact of climate change has led to coral bleaching. The growing concern is the relentless ocean acidification and hurricanes wreaking havoc on the world’s coral reefs, Brosnan said. Read more

Drawing attention to the condition of the coral reefs is also a challenge.

“A lot of people don’t fully appreciate the state of the ocean because they can’t see it,” Brosnan said.

Coral reefs support more than 25% of marine biodiversity, including turtles, fish and lobsters. which is the fuel in the global fishing industry Coral reefs are like apartment buildings, Brosnan said, with different species. Live in each floor from the basement to the penthouse.

Coral reefs act as a line of defense for coastal communities from wave action. Coral reefs help people build homes and businesses closer to the ocean.

Coral reefs reduce the flow of sand to the beach. It fills the sparkling white sand beaches that make the Caribbean a popular tourist destination around the world. The sand thanks to the coral and the very important local species that feed it.

“The white sand beaches on tropical islands are real parrotfish,” Brosnan said.

If the world’s remaining coral reefs continue to die, Brosnan predicts a significant financial impact on fisheries and tourism that the archipelago depends on. This could encourage immigration to developed countries.

“It is extremely worrying where you will live if coral reefs disappear. How do you make a living if the fisheries disappear? And where do you have to move now?” she said.

After implementing projects in Antigua and Barbuda Officials hope to replicate Ocean-Shot at other locations in the Caribbean and Latin America, Brosnan said, adding that there may be scope to lead to other regions.

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