[Coral-List] Of Artificial Reefs, Corporate Bodies & Reef Rehabilitation

Shimrit Perkol-Finkel Shimrit.Finkel at unibo.it
Mon Sep 21 07:08:26 EDT 2009

Dear listers,

Although I have extensively worked with artificial reefs, including both
designed structures aimed at specific research goals, and on unplanned
structures such as shipwrecks and jetties, and you can say I am generally
"pro-artificial reefs" (if properly designed, maintained, monitored and
evaluated). I would be very careful in promoting activities as described in
the alleged article. 

As also mentioned by Eric Borneman, deploying new artificial reefs is not a
magic solution for deterioration of coral reefs. Unfortunately, there are
several examples of artificial reefs that have created extensive damage to
nearby natural habitats than actually contribute to their rehabilitation.  
Nonetheless, there is a lot to be done in relation to harnessing existing
man-made structure in the marine environment. As mentioned by several
listers in relation to platforms for example. Structures including rigs,
marinas, jetties, and breakwaters are an inevitable part of coastal
development. Instead of planting new artificial structures why not harness
existing ones for ecological/biological benefits?

I am currently leading an EU project called MarUrbe, dealing with
sustainable management of urban marine structures. The idea is to find ways
to elevate the ecological value or the biological production of existing
structures without disturbing their primary function. Among the things I
have done so far is using coastal defense structures as a scaffold for
transplantation of an almost locally extinct canopy forming algae. I am also
looking at using marinas and breakwaters for monitoring of invasive species.
In the Red Sea I was also used simple 3D models attached to an oil jetty,
which elevated its structural complexity and allowed settlement of corals as
well as provided an excellent nursery for fish. 

I would suggest corporate bodies like Panasonic to continue and invest in
reef rehabilitation, but consider more innovative solutions. Combining
interdisciplinary scientific work with proper monitoring programs can be
much more useful than putting more PVC on the seabed (and not that I have
anything against PVC, I had very good results with recycled PVC in my
studies). Harnessing existing man-made structures for nursery grounds,
transplantation efforts, or even for monitoring of connectivity and marine
invasions is a much better investment if you ask me and this should be
considered as the next step in developing the land-sea interface.

I would be happy to provide further insight on the issue, as well as
relevant publications.



Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Ph.D.
Scienze Ambientali, Università di Bologna, 
Via S. Alberto, 163, I-48100 Ravenna, Italy.
Phone: +39 0544 937302 Fax: +39 0544 937303
Mobile: +39 3492 362500 e-mail: sperkol at gmail.com 

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Bart Huzaimi
Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:22 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Of Artificial Reefs,Corporate Bodies & Reef

Good day,

Recently, I read an article in a local newspaper re: corporate bodies
planting aritificial reefs as part of its corporate social responsibility
programs. This article can be found at:
Now, I'd like to know whether is it a good practice to encourage corporate
bodies (as in the article) to continue its artificial reefs programs. What
will be the pros and cons in doing so? Will it be a feasible idea to
introduce coral transplantation for the artificial reefs? Will it cause more
harm than good to the reef ecosystem? What would be a better idea to suggest
to such corporate bodies with regards to conservation activities which may
sound sexier than artificial reef planting?

Any ideas and comments would be much appreciated.

Thank you.


Best regards,

Post-graduate student,
Universiti Malaya
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Email: Badrul_h at hotmail.com
Tel: (+6) 013-308-8792

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity"

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