Introduction Reefs are the rainforests of the Sea. Like forests, the various types of reefs are extremely important as a habitat for an enormous number of species. Any imbalance created, whether it be natural causes or man’s influence, has a long term effect on the biodiversity in the area.
World Map of Coral Reefs Statistics say more than half of the coral reefs will be destroyed by 2100 10% of the World’s coral reefs are degraded beyond recovery.
Hot Spots have been identified as the most threatened coral reef ecosystems in the world.
Precious Ecosystem It is estimated that a mere 2/10ths of 1% of the total ocean area contain the world’s coral reefs, which provide habitat to 1/3 of all marine fish species, and tens of thousand of other species
Rapidly Degrading Areas The Indian Ocean – areas could be totally devoid of living coral in 20 years The Caribbean- the amount of reef covered by live coral has shrunk by 80% in the last three decades Philippines – no regulation of over fishing
Why are the reefs important? Tens of millions of people depend on reefs to provide them with food and to protect tropical shorelines from erosion. Coral reefs also have great aesthetic value and support a huge biodiversity with some estimate running into the millions of species. As possible reservoirs of medicines, particularly biomedical, that hold the promise of cures for many diseases Coral reefs are striking, complex, and important features of the marine environment. Provide recreation and tourism (economic livelihood of local areas).
Divers have seen first hand the damage that mans’ activities has done to the marine environment, these days surpassing the damage done by a reefs other natural peril, storm damage.
Causes of Coral Reef Degradation – Natural Stresses Crown of Thorns (Starfish) predator outbreaks and invasions
Coral Reef Destruction – Natural Stresses Warmer ocean temperature fluctuations resulting in coral bleaching global warming Warmer temperatures cause algae living within the coral to be expelled, which brings about coral bleaching and death to living polyps
Coral Degradation – Natural Stresses Flooding and surface runoff
Coral Degradation – Natural Stresses Natural Diseases Black Band White Band
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Pressure from population increase (including migration and intensified uses)
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Depletion of fish stocks Public and private aquariums Delicacy foods
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Changes in fish populations may remove the species that control the abundance of other reef organisms (seaweed) thus allowing the spread of “weedy” species
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Destructive fishing methods, such as dynamite blasting and poisons like cyanide which temporarily stun/paralyze the fish, some fish are killed Corals are also destroyed with these methods
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Excessive non-point source pollution, e.g. from agricultural runoff (fertilizers with nitrogen and phosphates) and contamination of aquifers (leaching)
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Ship-based pollution; including oil, plastics and bilge water
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Mangrove harvesting or displacement for aqua culture products
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Increased sedimentation as a result of deforestation and poor land use Increases in aquatic CO2 levels creates a lower pH, resulting in carbonic acid (chemistry change in water)
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Coral and coral sand mining The limestone in the reef is used as raw material for cement production
Coral Degradation – Man-made stresses Unregulated construction Coastal Development
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Unplanned tourism including inadequate wasted water treatment and spear fishing
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Collection of corals and ornamental reef species Anchors, when released, crush coral
Coral Degradation Man-made stresses Trawling- indiscriminate and large-scale seabed devastation. Sea bottom is completely leveled by heavy steel chains and nets. (before and after photos)
Save the Ecosystem “If we fail to act, the destruction of these rare and important ecosystems will continue unabated, threatening one of our world’s most precious natural resources. We need to slow the rate of global warming, clean up the watersheds that drain into coral reef waters, stop over-fishing and start an ecosystem-based management approach to coral reefs and their fisheries.” Dr Terry Done, Australian Institute of Marine Science
The Use of Artificial Reefs is hardly a new one For decades people have been creating reefs from tires, sunken ships, old cars, concrete culverts, downed planes and assorted rubble.
Bad News of “old stuff” These, however, can often do more harm than good- leaching harmful chemicals into the ocean or damaging natural reefs when currents dislodge them and toss them around the sea floor.
New Methods Many researchers and scientists have pioneered methodologies to help reefs survive and recover from natural events and anthropogenic damage. Most methods are sustainable, environmentally safe, and economically and biologically feasible.
All methods have the hope of plankton and bacteria forming first. Some chemicals would be released upon their decay, which would attract more marine life. Plants and polyps would begin to form on them and several marine animals would lay eggs and also find shelter in these “reefs”. This way, the artificial coral reefs would feed and breed marine life and over time tend to become natural.
Artificial Coral Uses Artificial reefs Breakwaters Construction material Channel marker protection Habitat for organisms Slow erosion Reduce wave energy Pier protection
Gulf of Mannar Project’s Artificial Reef Program Specifically designed concrete modules, each weighing over one and a half tons, and coated with anti- corrosive materials. Groups of four in each module 110 groups deployed within a 1 sq. mile
Solar Panel Artificial Reef A steel skeletal structure is placed on the seabed with small specimens of living coral attached with wire. When an electric current is applied, hydrogen bubbles start to form. This triggers a chemical reaction in seawater, that in time removes rust, and at the same time coats the steel with a form of calcium carbonate resembling natural reefs, which attracts corals
BIOReef Recycled vinyl sheet is being formed into a honeycomb shape, and sunk off the West coast of Florida
Biorock Applying a low voltage electrical current (completely safe for swimmers and marine life) to a submerged conductive structure causes dissolved mineral crystals in seawater to precipitate and adhere to that structure. Related terms: “Mineral Accretion Technology ” “Coral Arks”
Biorock To build a Biorock reef, an electrically conductive frame, often made from construction grade rebar or wire mesh, is welded and submerged. Then a low voltage direct current is applied using an anode, which initiates an electrolytic reaction, causing mineral crystals to grow on the structure. (power sources can include chargers, windmills, solar panels or tidal current generators) The result is a composite of limestone and brucite with mechanical strength similar to concrete.
“Coral Ark” Next phase, divers transplant coral fragments from other reefs and attach them to the ark’s frame. Coral growth is usually about 3 to 5 times faster than normal.
“Mineral Accretion Technology” Coral growth varies from 1 to more than 20 centimeters of thickness per year, depending on the local electrical field
The rusting of the submerged pilings has been completely halted, and in fact previous rust has been converted back to metallic iron by the protective cathodic action of the electrical currents. As a result, the pilings are completely protected from corrosion, and are now permanent. Only portions above the high tide mark are not protected and will need to be replaced.
Rock Pile Reefs Rock piles of rubble and broken coral Some piles have nets to control shifting
EcoReef The strategy was more for the tourism industry (aesthetics). Snowflake-like ceramic modules created in a 3D hexagonal shape.
EcoReef Designed to be mass- produced and assembled at a restoration site. Low-cost, large-scale, ecologically significant interventions
EcoReef pH neutral Shaded settling plates raised of the bottom Fluted surfaces to generate turbulence Microporous surface texture for improved coral adhesion
The “Reef Doctor’s” Choice of Artificial Restoration Projects Harold Hudson of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) is an expert on coral reef restoration commented on the new reef balls as “amazing”. Watching the development of the reef in the coming years should give even greater satisfaction
Reef ball Creator, Todd Barber Reef Balls are by far the most used designed artificial reefs in the world due to numerous special features which make them ideally suited to create aquatic habitats.
Reef Ball Foundation’s Mission Statement Our mission is to help restore and protect our world’s ocean ecosystem through the developments and use of natural looking and ecologically sound, Reef Balls. Reef Balls are state of the art designed artificial reefs modules. Reef Ball projects emphasize on-going research, public education, community involvement, and reefs that promote and support natural species diversity and population density.
Reefballs Concrete, hollow, domed shaped structures. Weight is concentrated in their bases, will sit on the sea floor without moving, even in turbulent waters
Reef balls Each reef ball has its own unique hole sizing and placement, with the surface textured for enhancing settlement of marine life.
The units are made with marine friendly concrete which has been combined with additives to create a super-strong, abrasion-resistant structure with a pH similar to ocean waters
Diagram of reef ball The balls which create holes are inflated to different pressures to vary hole sizes. Interconnected holes are possible by inflating the balls until they touch. Additional casting techniques are taught by trainers so users can customize to fit any need
Reef balls Reef balls are engineered for underwater stability and longevity, and cause minimal impact to the surrounding areas.
Getting modules ready for corals Different Styles of Modular Units all with Adapter Receptor Plugs built- in highlighted by red arrows
Inflated bladders make deployment of the reefballs relatively easy. To sink, simply release the air and guide the reefball to the floor
Reef balls are carefully placed on the sea floor. Meanwhile, volunteers are beginning coral propagation
Fish will begin breeding on the new reef Conchs, fish and other organisms can move under and around the reef balls
Sea grasses as well other aquatic life move in to complete the new reef ecosystem
Some areas require efforts to restore the mangroves. “mangrove root mimic reef balls” will be used near the planted mangroves to provide an estuary type reef system. The delicate root mimics are re-enforced with fiberglass rebar and will be a host to a variety of filter feeders, estuary hardy corals, sponges and algae.
Video Brochure Why build reefs What’s involved Floating deployment Unique hole sizing and placement Surface texture Stability Marine friendly concrete Standard sizes Leasing and pricing Contractor Services and training Projects 1999 Video Brochure
Reef Ball Sizes, Weights, Volume and number of Holes StyleWidthHeightWeight Concrete Volume Surface Area # Hol es Goliath 6 feet (1.83 m) 5 feet (1.5 2 m) 4,000-6,000 lbs. (1,818-2,727 kg.) 1.3 yard 3 (1.19 m 3 ) 230 ft 2 (21.4 m 2 ) 25- 40 Super Ball 6 feet (1. 83 m) 4.5 feet (1.37 m) 4,000-6,000 lbs (1,818-2,727 kg.) 1.3 yard 3 (1.19 m 3 ) 190 ft 2 (17.6 m 2 ) 22- 34 Ultra Ball 5.5 feet (1.68 m) 4.3 feet (1.31 m) 3,500-4,500 lbs. (1,591-2,045 kg.) 0.9 yard 3 (0.76 m 3 ) 150 ft 2 (13.9 m 2 ) 22- 34 Reef Ball 6 feet (1.83 m) 3.8 feet (1.16 m) 3000-4200 lbs. (1364-1,909 kg.) 0.75 yard 3 (0.57 m 3 ) 130 ft 2 (12.1 m 2 ) 22- 34 Pallet Ball 4 feet (1.22 m) 2.9 feet (0.88 m) 1500-2200 lbs. (682-1,000 kg.) 0.33 yard 3 (0.25 m 3 ) 75 ft 2 (7.0 m 2 ) 17- 24 Bay Ball 3 feet (0.91 m) 2 feet (0.61 m) 375-750 lbs. (170-341 kg.) 0.10 yard 3 (0.08 m 3 ) 30 ft 2 (2.8 m 2 ) 11- 16 Mini- Bay Ball 2.5 feet (0.76 m) 1.75 feet (0.53 m) 150-200 lbs. (68-91 kg.) less than 4 50 lb. bags 8-12 Lo-Pro 2 feet (0.61 m) 1.5 feet (0.46 m) 80-130 lbs. (36-59 kg.) less than 2 50 lb. bags 6-10 Oyster 1.5 feet (0.46 m) 1 foot (0.30 m) 30-45 lbs. (14-20 kg.) less than 1 50 lb. bag 6-8
Oyst er Lo- Pro Mini- Bay Bay Pall et Reef or Ultra Supe r G o li a t h Purchase $625 * $850 * $1600 * $2525 $48 75 $720 0 $8,70 0 $9,990$9,990 Reef Ball Foundation GrantReef Ball Foundation Grant At Cost Price (You must apply for and be accepted by RBF to qualify for this price). [Click above link for Grant requirements] $385 * $530 * $1000 * $1585 * $30 15 $446 0 $5,22 0 $5,994$5,994 Mold Duplication Fee, Authorized Contractors Only $185 Oyste r $130 Model $300$600$850 $18 50 $2,40 0 Reef $2,80 0 Ultra $7,80 0 Pricing and Leasing
Dominican Republic at the Gran Domicus Before reef restoration After reef restoration
Reef balls There are now over 500,000 reef balls in 3700 projects in 50 countries around the world, and the list grows weed by week.
Click the button to see an interactive map of the world’s locations participating in reef ball projects
Project Updates To learn more about individual projects, click on the link below for details and photos Project updates
Reef ball Foundation Publicly supported non-profit charity that functions as an international environmental NGO. Reefballs now and for the future: Most economically available pH sensitive EPA approved Stability tested. To learn more, log onto: www.reefball.org www.reefball.org www.reefball.com
Eternal Reefs If you are just “dying” to get into reefballs, try logging onto and learning more about how you can become part of an Eternal Reef http://www.eternalreef s.com/ http://www.eternalreef s.com/ Cremated remains are mixed into the concrete to create the Memorial Reef