[Coral-List] reference for coral restoration using electrical currents

Tamar Goulet tlgoulet at olemiss.edu
Tue Apr 5 09:03:54 EDT 2005

I am aware of one peer-reviewed reference for this technique:

Goreau, T.J., J.M. Cervino, R. Pollina.  2004.  Increased zooxanthellae 
numbers and mitotic index in electrically stimulated corals.  
Symbiosis.  37:107-120.


Dr. Tamar Goulet
Department of Biology
University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
Tel: 662-915-7457
Fax: 662-915-5144
On Mar 23, 2005, at 7:27 AM, Ari Spenhoff wrote:

> Dear Margaret Pizer, Iain Macdonald and listers,
> as the two most experienced experts on reef
> restoration aided by electrical current, Dr. Thomas
> Goreau and Wolf Hilbertz, are both currently on field
> trips, were they most likely have no internet access,
> I might be able to provide some initial information.
> (I am writing on behalf of Deep-Scape – a group of
> German Land- and Seascape architects, whose aim is
> promoting sustainable tourism strategies.)
> In the beginning of our reef rehabilitation efforts,
> we used common techniques of attaching broken coral
> fragments to hard substrate by gluing, tying or
> cementing them in situ and/or flow-through tanks.
> In 2002 we abandoned these methods in favour of the
> Mineral Accretion Technology (or Biorock-Technology)
> and are hence supporting its wider application.
> To our knowledge, it is the only field tested and
> viable solution which allows corals to better resist
> several environmental stressors – like temporarily
> elevated sea temperatures. A likely explanation for
> the phenomenon is that the electric current lowers the
> acidity of the surrounding seawater, allowing
> dissolved limestone to crystallize and be used for
> coral skeleton growth. Under natural conditions, coral
> polyps must expend their own energy to create these
> conditions.
> Iain Macdonald raises several important issues:
> “Why not just leave the coral where you found it?”
> - You should only transplant broken coral fragments
> (e.g. from anchor sites) which would otherwise have a
> very limited chance of survival. This means leaving
> any bigger pieces in favour of the smaller ones. In
> many places, collecting these fragments alone is
> yielding a sadly rich harvest – thus making it
> unnecessary to fragment previously reared
> ‘donor-corals’ (we are NOT in support of this!). The
> elevated pH-level close to the Biorock structures has
> proven to result in 3-5 times enhanced growth rates
> and up to more than 20 times faster healing. This
> means the smaller pieces quickly develop and there is
> no need to go for the initial show effect of the
> bigger ones.
> “Are such structures capable of sustaining the
> physical battering of 1 in 100 year storms? If not is
> there any point in placing such "temporary"
> restoration means.”
> - There are many options for building the conductive
> frames, ranging from low cost ones to stabilize blast
> damaged rubble and increase growth rates of remaining
> corals, to larger structures that create habitat for
> fish and corals, and create ecotourism attractions,
> fisheries restoration, and shore protection. But
> regardless of the design you choose, your structures
> serve their purpose, and even if it turns out that
> your design didn’t meet the conditions to last
> forever, they played their role as stepping stones
> needed for reefs’ resilience. By the way, the
> structures in the Maldives were unharmed by the
> Tsunami.
> I’m sorry, I can not provide information to your
> inquiry regarding scientific papers other than those
> found at the (non-profit organization) Global Coral
> Reef Alliance website (www.globalcoral.org). But I
> know there is one paper in press (or translation) from
> an Indonesian researcher dealing with enhanced growth
> rates etc.. The author is Putra Nyoman Dwija from
> Bagian Mikrobiologi, Fakultas Kedokteran, Universitas
> Udayana.
> If you have more questions you can email me directly
> at: ari_spenhoff at yahoo.de
> Best wishes and good luck with the article,
> Ari Spenhoff
> Message: 5
> Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 16:52:56 -0500
> From: "Jim Hendee" <Jim.Hendee at noaa.gov>
> Subject: [Coral-List] coral restoration using
> electrical currents
> To: coral-list <coral-list at aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID: <424093B8.7080808 at noaa.gov>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1;
> format=flowed
> Here's another forwarded one for Margaret, who
> apparently has a Systems
> Administrator who likes to forward messages through
> Ketama, Morocco.
> I've been saving these up for a rainy day, so please
> don't ask me to
> forward messages for you if you are in any kind of
> hurry.  Also, please
> do not respond to me.  Thank you.
> Subject:
> coral restoration using electrical currents
> From:
> Margaret Pizer <margaretpizer at yahoo.com>
> Date:
> Tue, 22 Mar 2005 11:26:38 -0800
> To:
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> I'm researching a story for a conservation magazine
> and would like
> expert opinions about the reef restoration methods
> described in the
> following news article:
> "Jolts of electricity revive damaged coral reef"
> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5770139/
> Is this method proven? Are there any peer-reviewed
> articles out or in
> the works about it? Is it practical and cost
> effective? Have similar
> things been tried before? Any other comments would be
> welcome and can
> be
> sent to me either on- or off-list.
> Thanks!
> Margaret Pizer

Dr. Tamar Goulet
Department of Biology
University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
Tel: 662-915-7457
Fax: 662-915-5144

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