Coral Reefs are in trouble,
AquaGen is helping
AquaGen powers Gili Eco Coral Reef
Coral reefs declined 14% the last decade; they cover just 0.2% of the ocean floor but are home to 25% of all marine species. AquaGen helps build coral reefs by electrifying BioRock and growing Coral up to 10 xfaster
CORAL REEFS ARE IN TROUBLE
Elevated Ocean Temperatures and Coral Bleaching: Rising sea temperatures caused by climate change are one of the most pressing concerns. Ocean temperatures around Key West Florida were as high as 101°f in 2023. When water temperatures exceed a certain threshold, corals expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, resulting in coral bleaching. If the stress continues, bleached corals can die.
Ocean Acidification: The oceans were becoming more acidic due to the absorption of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This makes it more difficult for corals to build their calcium carbonate skeletons and can weaken their structures.
Pollution: Runoff from land-based sources, including agricultural runoff and wastewater discharge, introduced pollutants into coastal waters, leading to coral reef degradation.
Overfishing: Overfishing and destructive fishing practices, such as using dynamite or cyanide to catch fish, harmed coral reef ecosystems by disrupting the balance of species and ecosystems.
Coastal Development: Coastal development, including the construction of resorts and ports, often resulted in habitat destruction, increased sedimentation, and pollution in reef areas.
Coral Disease: Several diseases were affecting coral reefs, and some were spreading more rapidly, possibly due to environmental stressors and human activities.
Efforts were being made globally to address these issues through conservation measures, protected marine areas, and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the overall situation of coral reefs may have evolved since my last update, so it is essential to consult more recent sources for the most current information on the state of coral reefs and ongoing conservation efforts.
WHAT IS BIOROCK AND HOW CAN IT HELP?
Biorock is a novel technology to create an artificial coral reef. Gili Eco Trust is building steel structures and attaching a low voltage of direct current to it, that creates accelerated growth of corals, with increased resistance to climate change, coral bleaching and increased storm activity. AqaaGen's Minnow 2.4 will supply the necessary current to build the artificial coral reef.
Reef gardeners and Biorock students recover corals that have been dislodged from the reef in storms, anchor damage or poor tourist behaviour and transplant them carefully on the structures.
The low voltage current creates an electrolytic reaction and a stable substrate of calcium carbonate accretes (to grown & make larger) onto the rebar causing the structure to grow in size and become heavier and anchor itself to the reef. Layers of calcium carbonate are deposited on the structures, providing a sturdy and optimal surface for corals to cement to. The low electric current also promotes the coral to grow faster and stronger than on the natural reef.
Doing this, the Gili Eco Trust has managed to restore some of the beautiful coral reefs of Trawangan in a short period. They have proven to be more resilient than natural reefs in severe bleaching events of 2009, 2010 and 2016. More than 150 structures are placed in the waters around the Gili Islands, fostering a lot of new corals and a vast array of fish life.
WHY DO WE NEED BIOROCK?
Coral reefs are endangered by many different factors, both natural and caused by human influence.
Worldwide about 10% of all coral reefs have been destroyed, while 75% is threatened by human interaction. With help from coral restoration and Biorock technology in the Gili Islands, more corals will survive these threats, sustaining life underwater and providing oxygen and protecting beaches from coastal erosion.
The Gili Islands, whilst now safe from destructive fishing methods such as dynamite and cyanide fishing, still are battling with many threats that affect our beautiful marine ecosystem.
Anchors, although widely unaccepted and illegal in Gilis, are still used for unregistered snorkel tours and import boats in certain parts of the islands. It is very apparent in these areas the destruction caused underwater, the damaged reefs are now sites of rubble, quickly overcome with algae. Whilst the Biorock structures do not create wholly natural reefs, they work fast to mitigate damage in destroyed areas of reef and start to stabilize loose sediment and rubble that was previously barren.
We have also increasingly observed mass bleaching events on some or all of our dive sites around the Gilis. Major events that affected Gilis corals to date were 1998, 2009, 2010 and most recent and severe, 2016. Whilst all reefs including the Biorock reefs were at least partially bleached, studies carried out during the 2016 Il Nino event on corals transplanted onto Biorocks had a slower rate of bleaching than on natural reefs, and also when the sea cooled back down (3 months later) they had a much quicker recovery rate and overall lower mortality rate.
With events such as these, accelerated in frequency and severity by the climate crisis, it is critical to keep up the maintenance of the Biorock structures to protect our reefs from further damage.
DYNOROTOR GILI ECO PROJECT
Special Thanks goes out to our partners at Gili Eco Trust and TheJETTLAGGED.
POWERING BIOROCK WITH AQUAGEN MINNOW 2.4
Currently (no pun intended) the main disadvantage to Biorock technology for restoring coral reefs is that it uses DC electricity from the island and the main power grid. Not only is this powered by finite fuels such as oil and petroleum, the island gets frequent power cuts. Our initial solution to this was to install floating solar panels above some of the Biorock structures to power them throughout the day using the sun, letting the corals rest, feed and grow naturally at night. This has proven not as effective resulting in a much slower growth rate of the coral species. Presently there are 35 x Biorock's in this way.
Some of the countries and regions where Biorock installations have been implemented or planned include:
Indonesia: Indonesia has been a pioneer in using Biorock technology for coral reef restoration. There were multiple Biorock projects in various locations throughout the Indonesian archipelago.
Maldives: The Maldives, with its vulnerable coral reefs, has also utilized Biorock technology to aid in reef restoration.
Philippines: Biorock installations were in use in the Philippines to help rejuvenate damaged coral reefs.
Caribbean: Some countries in the Caribbean, such as Bonaire and the Cayman Islands, have employed Biorock technology for reef conservation.
Pacific Islands: Certain Pacific Island nations and territories, including Fiji, have implemented Biorock projects to address coral reef degradation.
Australia: There have been efforts to use Biorock technology in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, one of the most iconic coral reef systems globally.
Various Other Countries: Biorock technology has been explored and applied in other countries and regions with damaged or threatened coral reefs.
The latest strategy is to be able to harness energy from ocean currents! This is an almost infinite source of energy, flowing through the channels and coral reefs daily. Gili Eco has partnered with AquaGen / DynoRotor (based in Canada, UK and USA) who are creating a custom energy generation system (focused around their AquaGen Generator). Finally the energy from reversible ocean currents will now be affixed directly on, or nearby to the Biorock sites to create power from the ocean to continue the electrolytic reactions.
For more information, please register your interest here:
The AquaGen Generator (Minnow) shown above (18" in diameter, with up to 2.4 kW-hrs per day of power) will ship with an option of Pontoons. Pricing is yet to be determined, and exact ship date in 2024 is also yet to be determined.
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