Coral reefs are a place that is teeming with life and attracts many marine animals. They are among the most important components of the marine ecosystem. Many coral reefs are dying en masse. Constant warming can lead to their destruction. If the ocean temperature were to rise by just a few degrees, 99% of coral reefs would likely die. These unique ecosystems occupy only 0.1% of the ocean space. But they are important because they support more than a quarter of all marine biodiversity.
A plan to save coral reefs
There are projects that aim to restore coral reefs and bring life back to many places in the ocean. The innovative project OceanShot placed its first-ever human-made “coral modules” off the coast of Antigua and Barbuda.
“This is our moon shot — but instead of launching up, we’re launching down,” OceanShot co-founder and climate scientist and marine biologist Dr. Deborah Brosnan said in a press release. “With OceanShot, we are restoring the place that is critical to human survival today — as well as for our future. Without healthy oceans, there is no us.”
This project was launched a year ago by Dr. Brosnan and philanthropist entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria to help restore reefs that are already struggling. It is backed by the Global Citizen Forum and the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
Corals are disappearing from the seabed at a great rate
More coral is lost each day than can be restored in 10 years, and the world’s oceans have already lost half of their reefs. It is a big loss and concrete actions need to be taken so that the corals can grow again. Global warming killed off 14 percent of reefs between 2010 and 2020 alone, according to Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network data reported by The Hill.
When the water in the ocean gets too warm, a process called coral bleaching occurs. The hot water removes the algae from the corals, which take care of their nutrient supply and also their color. Another big enemy is carbon dioxide. When too much carbon dioxide is deposited in the ocean, it leads to ocean acidification. The ocean is understandably also burdened by garbage, excessive fishing and localized agriculture.
OceanShot first focused on the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda
“The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda proudly pledged its full support to OceanShot from the outset,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in the press release. “We are the first country on which the project’s scalable solutions have been deployed. Prioritizing ocean resilience and blue economy for our citizens are among the most important initiatives being developed on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda.”
The press release also says: “The coral modules combine both built structure and living coral. They are architecturally designed to restore a once-thriving ocean ecosystem, and to protect shoreline and ocean communities from the devastating impact of storms and sea level rise, as well as to revive ocean-dependent local economies. This project is scalable for global implementation. AI cameras, which will be critical for monitoring and devising solutions – have been deployed on the ocean bed to monitor the reef 24/7 to analyze the natural ecosystem, including fish diversity, coral growth, and wave patterns.”
Coral reef modules can be used in many places
“We all rent space on this planet. We are responsible for taking care of it and for how we leave it for the next generation,” says John Paul DeJoria. “Coral reefs are the lifeblood of the planet. I am committed to furthering new and advanced environmental conservation efforts, and am delighted to partner with Dr. Brosnan on this innovative and impactful initiative.”
“The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda proudly pledged its full support to OceanShot from the outset,” says Prime Minister Gaston Browne, one of the leading figures tackling climate-change for Caribbean Island Nations. “We are the first country on which the project’s scalable solutions have been deployed. Prioritizing ocean resilience and blue economy for our citizens are among the most important initiatives being developed on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda.”
“This engagement and partnership with the OceanShot project is helping PADI to mobilize more ocean torchbearers who care about coral reefs and want to support creating positive ocean change,” said Dr. Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI. “We are working with Dr. Brosnan and her team to help form the basis of best practices guidelines for scalable coral reef restoration and monitoring—which ties directly to PADI’s Blueprint for Ocean Action.”
While the OceanShot is starting in one Caribbean location, Brosnan hoped to see it expand to other islands in the future.
“This isn’t just a science project, this is a full-scale solution that might be the answer to saving small island nations,” she said. “We now know how to design and build reefs, and locate them so we get maximum benefits for the coast, as well as reviving fisheries and local communities’ blue economies.”
Image credit: OceanShot