Electric current on man made coral Reefs

Discussion in 'Diving, Collecting and Environmental Discussions' started by seank, 22 Nov 2008.

  1. seank

    seank

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    I know we discussed this some time ago, but cannot find the thread. I watched the Program this afternoon on Tv and since the last time I saw these pictures when they started the artificial reef, I must admit that the new pictures shows healthy and speedy growth. Anyone with some more info???

    It is about the fact that they use a low voltage current on these reefs to aid in coral growth
     
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  3. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    The Reef Electric – Bio Rock
    Innovative Program to Resurrect Dying Coral Reefs Launched in Lombok.

    [​IMG]
    (1/3/2005) A set of bright pink marker buoys off the Gili Islands in Northwest Lombok marks the location of a dynamic and innovative program that promises new life to world's threatened coral reefs.

    Co-conceived by coral expert Tom Goreau and architect Wolf Hilbertz, Bio Rock, or Electric Reef installations, have proven successful in creating new coral reef habitat, not only in Indonesia, but in numerous locations around the region.

    At the invitation of long-time Bali resident Cody Schwaiko, and Bali Hai Diving Adventures - Tom Goreau and Wolf Hilbertz recently visited Gili Trawangan to assess the area's suitability for a trial installation. After receiving the initial "thumbs up" and funding from the Vila Ombak Diving Academy together with other local community support, the Gili's first Bio Rock installation was "plugged in" on November 20, 2004.

    Coral Arks and Bio Rocks

    Known in some circles as "Coral Arks" because of their proven ability to create new havens for fish and corals in areas where human impact has damaged coral reef habitat, the new artificial reef on Gili Trawangan was constructed using steel bars and copper wiring to produce a tunnel-like steel foundation. Electrodes are attached to transmit low-voltage electrical current into the seawater surrounding the steel structure. Driven by an onshore power source or solar panel, the voltage employed is equivalent to that of a 60-100 watt light bulb.

    How Does it Work?

    In combination with an anode and cathode, the electric current causes dissolved minerals in sea water to crystallize, forming a limestone coating over the exposed steel, a perfect media for coral larvae – the basic building block of the reef. To further accelerate reef establishment and in a process know as "seeding," the Vila Ombak Diving Academy Team collected live coral fragments already detached from surrounding healthy reefs, and physically attached them to the structure.

    The results of this innovative approach to creating new coral reefs has been, both literally and figuratively, electrifying. Studies show resulting reef growth rates that are three to five times that of un-stimulated coral. Other studies indicate stimulated coral may also be more tolerant to changes in surrounding water temperature.

    Local Community Support Essential

    Local community support is considered essential to the success of any environmental initiative. The Gili Island Bio Rock Project draws much of its inspiration from the village head on Gil Trawangan, Taufik, who is an avid SCUBA diver. Taufik's commitment to project, his socialization of the project to his local constituents and the services of a local marine patrol funded by the Gili Eco Trust are all playing key roles in the ongoing success of the project.

    On November 23, 2004, the Vila Ombak Diving Team lowered the first completed structure carefully into place. Taufik, in his capacity as village leader, was given the honor of becoming the first diver to seed the structure with a coral fragment.

    Within just 16 hours of the introduction of electricity there was a visible white film already forming on the exposed steel. Resembling an underwater Christmas tree adorned with carefully attached coral decorations, Moorish idols and Damsel Fish were already winding their way in and out of the structure. A fantastic green and yellow miamiridae nudibranch had also moved in, declaring the structure its new home.

    As a finishing touch, Taufik painted the succinct message on the surface marker buoys saying "Keep and Protect this Place" and the installation was complete.

    If you’d like to learn more about the Vila Ombak Diving Academy's Coral Reef Education Program or about the Bio Rock project, follow the e-mail link provided.
     
    Last edited: 23 Nov 2008
  4. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    April, 2008

    At the recent Coral Reef Symposium in Bali, Indonesia, scientists concluded that most of the world’s ocean reefs have been killed or severely damaged with the remainder in certain jeopardy. Disastrous reverses in reef health threaten marine biodiversity, tourism, fisheries and shore protection worldwide.

    Reefs die for many reasons: rising water temperatures, sewage flows, eutrophication, disease, and negligence. A reef ecosystem that took hundreds of years to grow can be destroyed in a single afternoon by dredging, dynamite or cyanide fishing.

    When coral reefs die, fish populations disappear; beaches and shorelines are damaged. Unprotected by breakwaters, fragile land areas become vulnerable to erosion, saltwater intrusion and destruction from waves.

    (Photos are thumbnails. Click to enlarge)
    [​IMG]
    Coral bleaching is now common in reefs around the world. Bonaire, NA

    The Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA)
    The Global Coral Reef Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to growing, protecting and managing the most threatened of all marine ecosystems—coral reefs. Through extensive research, GCRA has pioneered methodologies to help reefs survive and recover from diseases and anthropogenic damage caused by excessive nutrients, climate change and physical destruction.

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    Eutrophication, often caused by inadequate sewage treatment,
    smothers corals with nutrient fed algae. Bay Islands, Honduras.

    Global Warming, Population and Pollution
    Conventional wisdom might say that a small entity like GCRA, can do little but sound an alarm. Restoring marine ecology is a job for nations, not individuals.

    But conventional wisdom might be wrong. GCRA does have a solution—A patented form of mineral accretion called the Biorock® Process, owned by Biorock®, Inc. and licensed to GCRA. With it corals thrive, even in environments where water quality is poor and surrounding corals are dying.

    The Biorock® Process Accelerates Coral Growth
    In pilot installations in Mexico, Panama, Indonesia, Maldives, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea, we have built artificial reefs where corals grow rapidly even in stressed environments.

    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. The result is a composite of limestone and brucite with mechanical strength similar to concrete. Derived from seawater, this material is similar to the composition of natural coral reefs and tropical sand beaches.

    Biorock structures can be built in any size or shape depending only on the physical makeup of the sea bottom, wave and current energies and construction materials. They are well suited for remote, third world sites where exotic building materials, construction equipment and highly skilled labor are non-existent.

    GCRA methods provide a cost-effective way to increase coral survival from bleaching and disease, while restoring damaged reefs. In time, these structures cement themselves to the ocean bottom, providing a physical barrier that can protect coastlines from waves and currents that cause erosion.

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    Structures can be any shape or size depending
    only on available materials and power. Bali, Indonesia.

    In the Maldives, during the 1998 warming, fewer than 5% of the natural reef corals survived. But on our GCRA reefs, 80% of corals not only survived, they flourished. Corals from these reefs are now recolonizing the surrounding natural habitats. GCRA reefs are growing in Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Panama, and Mexico.

    Constructing A New Reef
    To build a Biorock reef, an electrically conductive frame, often made from construction grade rebar or wire mesh, is welded together, submerged and anchored to the sea bottom. Sizes and configurations vary to fit the setting. Then a low voltage direct current is applied using an anode (power sources can include chargers, windmills, solar panels or tidal current generators). This initiates an electrolytic reaction causing mineral crystals naturally found in seawater, mainly calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide, to grow on the structure.

    Within days, the structure takes on a whitish hue as it becomes encrusted with precipitated minerals adding rigidity and strength. Electrical fields, plus the shade and protection offered by the metal/limestone frame, attract a wide range of colonizing marine life including fish, crabs, clams, octopus, lobster, and sea urchins.

    Once the reef structure is in place and minerals begin to coat the surface, the next phase of reef construction begins. Divers transplant coral fragments from other reefs and attach them to the ark’s frame. Immediately, these coral pieces begin to bond to the accreted mineral substrate and start to grow—typically three to five times faster than normal. Soon the reef takes on the appearance and utility of a natural reef ecosystem rather than a man-made one.

    [​IMG]
    Limestone quickly covers the metal frame. Bali.

    No Area of the World is Too Remote
    Reefs often need restoration far from convenient sources of electrical power. Accordingly, we use electricity generated by renewable resources including the sun via photovoltaic panels, as well as wind and water-driven generators.

    Healthy Reefs In Stressed Environments
    Due to electrolysis, corals on ark reefs gain energy affecting growth, reproduction and their ability to resist environmental stress. These reefs grow rapidly and get stronger as they age. And unlike some other types of artificial reefs made from cars or tires for example, Biorock reefs don't leach harmful pollutants into the sea.

    The Biorock Process is the only known technology that can sustain corals through warming water temperatures.

    We hope to build as many Biorock sites as feasible before reef degradation and coastal erosion passes the point where recovery and restoration becomes impossible.

    [​IMG]
    Coral fragments transplanted to the structure
    soon begin to grow. Bali.

    Coral species typically found on healthy reefs gain a major advantage over the weedy organisms that often overgrow them on reefs stressed by eutrophication. In tests where the electrical current is interrupted, mineral accretion stops and weeds begin to cover the corals. But, if the current is maintained, coral reef habitats can often be restored even in areas where water quality would prevent their recovery by any other method.

    Biorock structures have unlimited potential for making breakwaters that actually get stronger with age. If waves or colliding ships cause damage, renewed mineral accretion makes them, to an extent, self-repairing.

    [​IMG]
    Healthy corals grow quickly—up to ten times faster
    than normal when exposed to the Biorock Process,
    even in poor water conditions. Bali.

    [​IMG]
    As the corals grow, the structure takes on the
    appearance of a conventional reef attracting
    a wide variety of indigenous marine life. Bali.

    GCRA—Dedicated and Ready To Help
    We would be pleased to consult on Biorock technology as well as coral reef construction and restoration. GCRA scientists are ready to work with foundations, governments or private firms to build, restore and maintain coral reefs, nurseries and sanctuaries wherever funding and suitable conditions exist. Projects include coral reefs for tourism or breakwaters for shore protection.

    Biorock® is a registered trademark of Biorock, Inc. The Biorock® Process is owned by Biorock®, Inc.
    ©Global Coral Reef Alliance, 2002

    Global Coral Reef Alliance
    37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
    USA

    06/06/2008​
     
    Last edited: 23 Nov 2008
  5. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    Very interesting read; here is a link: Voices on Bali, and Beyond - Dot Earth Blog - NYTimes.com


    This is a very interesting read to all who wants to know more, here is an extract:

    In my briefings to the Association of Small Island States in Bali, the 41 Island Nations of the Caribbean, Pacific, and Indian Ocean (and later circulated to all member states), I pointed out that IPCC had seriously and systematically UNDERESTIMATED the extent of climate change, showing that the sensitivity of temperature and sea level to CO2 clearly shown by the past climate record in coral reefs, ice cores, and deep sea sediments is orders of magnitude higher than IPCC’s models. This is a result of IPCC model’s failure to include most of the positive feedback mechanisms that we know operate in the Earth climate system, and the fact that the time horizon for their projections is orders of magnitude shorter than the time needed to achieve the response to increased CO2. Therefore the changes will be much greater than policymakers are being led to believe, and the need for action is far more urgent.
    I also showed from the GCRA long term global coral reef temperature database, that the EU proposal, to allow CO2 to rise to 450 ppm and temperatures to rise by 2 degrees C was unacceptable because it would kill, all coral reefs and drown all low lying coasts. Coral reefs just can’t take any more warming, we have already lost most of the corals in our reefs worldwide from high temperatures. I also showed that it was essential to REDUCE atmospheric CO2 by at least one third to stabilize climate at safe levels, and presented new, cost effective clean and sustainable tidal energy energy resources not now being developed due to lack of policies and funding, and cost effective charcoal soil carbon sinks that could reduce atmospheric CO2 to safe levels and store the carbon forever in ways that greatly increase soil fertility and agricultural productivity. None of these solutions were being discussed by the UN negotiators, while they discussed “solutions” that are minor or nonexistent.
    In Bali the Island Nations took the moral lead. But we were opposed by the world richest and most powerful countries, a coalition of oil producers and coal burners. The US, with the backing of Canada, and Japan, refused to consider any limits on their rights to burn fossil fuels. The Arab oil producing states tried incessantly to block every initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And, with the covert backing of the US, China, India, and Russia claimed that any limitations on their right to pollute our atmosphere was a plot to keep them from developing using the same destructive dirty methods as the western countries. The EU, who we counted on, backed down to the dirty polluters in order to achieve any sort of consensus.
    That China and India, with their thousands of years of advanced civilization and science, should have fallen for this instead of leading the way towards cleaner sustainable development paths, is truly sad. And by placing their short sighted greed, ignorance, and stupidity first, the unholy polluting coalition of oil producers and coal burners has told the world that they don’t care who else they hurt by continuing their dirty addiction, killing reefs and drowning islands and coasts, and imperiling millions in poor countries.
    Even worse, they have shown that they do not care for the rights of future generations, not even of their own people. That is why this shameful agreement is a capital crime against the environment that must be undone as soon as the Bush regime leaves office.
    – Thomas J. Goreau
    Global Coral Reef Alliance
     
  6. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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  7. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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  8. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    Cultivating coral gardens | The Japan Times Online


    Where corals come from </B>The Earth's coral reefs cover just 750,000 sq. km, roughly twice the land area of Japan and less than 0.3 percent of the ocean floor. However, the shallow, near-shore zones they occupy support over a quarter of all marine animals and plants.
    Coral is basically made up of marine organisms, called polyps, that process calcium from seawater, which they then deposit as tiny limestone skeletons. A coral reef is the rocky accumulation of millions of these animals and their exoskeletons.
    Living inside polyps are microscopic algae that transform sunlight into oxygen, thus keeping corals alive. But this symbiotic relationship can turn deadly if the algae are fed too many nutrients and become overnourished.
    This can happen if the surrounding oceans become polluted with chemicals from raw sewage or fertilizers, for example. In this event, the algae overgrow and eventually choke the corals.
    It is no coincidence that coral thrives in the relatively nutrient-poor waters of the tropical and subtropical oceans.
    Another of the many abuses to which corals are subjected is bleaching, which is triggered by even the slightest rise in water temperature. When water temperatures increase, corals reject the algae that feed off them. As coral depends on those algae for essential nutrients, it effectively starves. It is algae that give coral their stunning array of colors, so their desertion leaves the coral white, or "bleached."
    There are three types of coral reefs: fringing corals, barrier reefs and atolls. Spread out over 750 km, the 1,200 coral islands of the Maldives are nestled on the rims of 26 atolls (the word "atoll" actually comes from the Maldivian "atolu.")
    In a process that takes hundreds of thousands of years, atolls are formed by coral buildup on the shores of a volcano. As the volcano sinks below the water, the coral continues to grow upward, forming a barrier reef that is separated from the sinking land mass by a lagoon. With time, the volcano becomes completely submerged, and coral growth is sufficient to form a ring-shaped atoll, parts of which emerge above the sea to form coral islands. (R.G.)











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  9. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Hey Sean, you bought shares in Bio Rock :whistling:

    Thanks for sharing - interesting read :thumbup:

    Hennie
     
  10. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    Thanks Hennie, but, how can we incorporate this into our systems???? :

    Driven by an onshore power source or solar panel, the voltage employed is equivalent to that of a 60-100 watt light bulb.

    How Does it Work?


    In combination with an anode and cathode, the electric current causes dissolved minerals in sea water to crystallize, forming a limestone coating over the exposed steel, a perfect media for coral larvae – the basic building block of the reef.
    The results of this innovative approach to creating new coral reefs has been, both literally and figuratively, electrifying. Studies show resulting reef growth rates that are three to five times that of un-stimulated coral.

    This initiates an electrolytic reaction causing mineral crystals naturally found in seawater, mainly calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide, to grow on the structure.
     
  11. scubaninja

    scubaninja

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    i think the steel in an open water source as big as an ocean isnt too bad, but a little bit of steel in our small tanks may be harmfull. really loved the read though. its awesome that somebody is doing something for the oceans. would love my reef to grow quicker:whistling:
     
  12. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Well, from what I've read, there really are two claims being made here:
    • The electrical current is causing calcium to form on the steel structure. This is quite normal, scientifically speaking, and is the same process as that used for electro-plating (e.g. copper plating the baby's woolen booties, or zink coating of galvanised poles, etc.). I suppose that one could DIY some interesting reef structures by using smooth wire, and then removing the wire once a thick enough calcium carbonate structure has formed around the wire. I just think that this would be a rather slow process, use a lot of calcium, and be generally impractical for our hobby.
    • The electrical current is also claimed to increase coral growth by up to 5 times more than on untreated reefs. I'm quite skeptical about this - I could be wrong, but the articles sound more like the authors are trying to obtain funding, or trying to justify money already spent, and in doing so they are making claims which they are not substantiating with hard facts, and/or hard scientific reasons (for this accelerated growth). If I must guess (wildly...) I would contribute the increased growth to the increased levels of iron in the water, released by both "normal" rusting and through electrolysis. In the oceans (other than in our tanks) iron is severely limited, and an increase in iron would be beneficial to corals in that it would allow more zooxanthellae to live symbiotically inside the corals, thus increasing the energy available to the corals. the same benefit could be obtained by "spiking" the reefs with fine (powdered) iron filings, as was done some time ago in a full-scale experiment (if I remember correctly...). In our tanks I guess a better approach would be to add small amounts of chemically dissolved iron, such as Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley is doing to increase his macro algal growth
    If their claims are true that it is the actual electrical current which is causing the increased growth, it should be easily possible to add a small DC current to our systems without releasing harmful substances by using carbon rods as electrodes, rather than metal. So, who feels like experimenting - I reckon one could achieve some publishable results by running (say) 12 - 16 identical tanks, all with identical lights, water quality, etc and each with approximately the same size coral frag, and then adding a small DC current to half of these tanks...

    Hennie
     
    Last edited: 23 Nov 2008
  13. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    I also thought in that direction. So, anyone who wants to donate some coral (same principles as these guys who are looking for funding) and I will gladly start something like this, but, I am not at all means a guru, so I would rather suggest that we sponsor Hennie or some other guru to start something like this and see if it will work.

    By the way Hennie, thank you for your valuable input:thumbup:
     
  14. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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    Who is gonna try this???
     
  15. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    You can :)
     
  16. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish MASA Contributor

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    Too much to read on my cell phone.
    What voltage did they use and AC or DC?
     
  17. seank

    seank Thread Starter

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