Researchers re-purpose old technology to harvest and transplant hundreds of thousands coral larvae back to their declining eco-system
Researchers at Southern Cross University have been trying to grow new coral fast enough to catch up with declining populations. So what they’ve done is collect a bunch of coral eggs and sperm, protect them until they become babies, and then bring them to the endangered reefs using this new form of aquatic drone technology called larvalbot.
“We aim to have two or three robots ready for the November spawn. One will carry about 200,000 larvae and the other about 1.2 million,” explained QUT’s Matthew Dunbabin in a news release. “During operation, the robots will follow preselected paths at constant altitude across the reef and a person monitoring will trigger the release of the larvae to maximise the efficiency of the dispersal.”
Divers would usually be taking care of this. Unfortunately they’re simply not quick enough to save the reefs so we need something faster and cheaper otherwise it just won’t get done quickly enough to prevent the ecosystem from collapsing. This is where technology comes in handy
“The surviving corals will start to grow and bud and form new colonies which will grow large enough after about three years to become sexually reproductive and complete the life cycle,” said Southern Cross’s Peter Harrison, who has been developing the larval restoration technique.
By using larvalbot in symphony with 3D Printed coral we may prevent this fundamental oceanic source of life from being extinguished. coral reefs contain 4-6% of the worlds ocean species and possibly more – that’s not even considering all of the species that feed on those species.
If technology is inevitable we might as well use it for as much good as possible.