[Coral-List] Electric Reefs

James M Cervino cnidaria at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 24 08:39:31 EST 2005

Dear people interested in the electric reef research projects,

Below is a link that provides a PDF of a paper published in the 
Journal Symbiosis. the title is:  Increased Zooxanthellae Numbers and 
Mitotic Index in Electrically Stimulated Corals Symbiosis (2004) 

Tom Goreau is in a village in Panama carrying out regular maintenance 
on a few structures with no e-mail access.  He will be back late next 
week for the Global Warming Conference here in NY. 

I have worked with him on the Indo Pacific projects. All corals  were 
collected from:  broken fragments damaged by storms, irresponsible 
development projects, and illegal BLAST fisherman's remnants of 
broken colonies.  If properly maintained, these structures work fine 
with positive results.  The key here is monitoring of the structure 
once it is started.  Oceanic conditions are erratic and can cause 
electrodes to brake off due to storm damage. This is why a normal 
monthly monitoring survey is needed to measure growth rates and to 
make sure the anode and cathode to the structure is properly fixed 
into proper position.  The Maldive structures are up and running, 
however, we are not sure that the anodes and cathods are still 
attached since the Tsunami occurred. This is in no way like throwing 
cement structures in the water along the coast.  If this were the 
case, they would be scattered throughout and overgrown with algae 
turf. These Biorock structures, if properly maintained, continue to 
undergo accretion and get heavier as time passes preventing any 
movement. They also prevent the over-growth of algae turf from 
smothering the corals, as accretion technology and current is 

I am pleased with the progress and we are currently conducting lab 
and field experiments that Tom will submit for publication.  I know 
this is needed, however, due to Toms limited almost non-existent 
funding this will take time.  The Bali project is amazing, and for 
some reason these structures are covered with corals actively growing 
compared to the surrounding corals reefs damaged by the BLAST 
fisherman and aquarium industry collectors that took place before 
they went in.

What I can tell you (from work I did) about this technology is the 
that Zooxanthella densities, mitotic indices, and chlorophyll were 
measured in six major reef-building coral genera growing on 
electrically stimulated electric structures in Indonesia, and 
compared with genetically identical corals growing adjacent to them. 
Corals on Biorock reefs had generally higher densities of 
zooxanthellae and higher rates of symbiotic algal division, but 
generally lower chlorophyll per zooxanthella , with the Acroporids 
growing the fastest.

WITH REGARDS TO : Ari Spenhoff post:
In 2002 we abandoned these methods in favour of the Mineral Accretion 
Technology (or Biorock-Technology) and are hence supporting its wider 

James: Was this abandoned due to copyright legalities? Or was it 
inability of proper current adjustment to the structure ?


James M. Cervino, Ph.D. Candidate
Invertebrate Physiology & Pathology
Marine Sciences Department
University of South Carolina
Mobile: 917.620.5287
cnidaria at earthlink.net

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