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Researchers use 3D printing technology to help restore coral reefs – Israel News



  Israeli researchers use 3D printing technology to help restore coral reefs

A snorkel man in an area called Coral Gardens near Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Researchers from Technion University, Ben Gurion University, Negev University, and Bar Yillen are collaborating on a project to assist the restoration of coral reef systems worldwide, using a 3D printing model to create artificial coral structures, according to research published. from universities.

Due to the continuous degradation of coral reef systems around the world, the technology now being applied on the Eilat shore will help restore the diversity of the underwater ecosystem by integrating these fabricated structures into systems that are unlikely to regenerate.

Coral reefs around the world are disappearing for many reasons, natural and man-made, mainly from the overheating of water affected by climate change, dynamite fishing, chemicals in sunscreen, as well as invasive fish such as the lion fish, the species that hunts fish inhabitants of coral reefs.

Over thirty percent of the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world, located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia, was swept away by heat waves occurring in 201

6 and 2017, raising water temperatures to habitable levels for these natural systems – scientists have indicated that if the Earth's average temperature rises another four degrees Fahrenheit, nearly the entire coral reef system in the world will be lost, used as the main nurseries for many species of fish used to feed not over a billion people a year.

3D printed reefs can mimic natural forms that attract different types of fish to use these artificial ial structures as their nurseries, in an attempt to bring back the lively fish population that once inhabited the Eilat coral reefs.

"Many factors are known to influence the potential recruitment of reef organisms, and in particular fish. An important factor is the structural complexity of the coral colony, which in turn provides shelter for the resident fish. The coral's structural complexity has been proven to correlate with reef biodiversity, "researchers say.

The 3D printer uses polyactive acid, biodegradable and bioactive bioplastic made from corn, manioc or sugar cane to design them. Individually planted with reared coral to mimic the complexity of coral reef ecosystems.

These efforts will in theory bring important fish species back to these areas in an attempt to completely reconstruct the barren reefs along the E coast.

Scientists have played with many different shapes, colors and materials to come up with the final designer product introduced off the coast of Israel – early indicators show that the preferences of many of these species differ through contrasting combinations of material and color, while they reject other combinations.

"As a research group jointly united by marine biologists and designers, we seek to find the following practices and tools for investigating the ecological functionality of morphology and corals, "said the researchers. "We believe that the rehabilitation and management of coral reefs, as well as the artificial reef construction, require a better understanding of how the morphology of a coral colony interacts with its inhabitants."

In this specific study, scientists use 3D manipulation and printing to further understand whether human-made structures can promote the natural ecosystem, the species of fish that are essential for these ecosystems to flourish, and the benefits of using fashion Our design tools such as 3D scanning and manipulation to create artificial coral.

"And the successful completion of this study can enhance our understanding of the interaction of corals with their environment, provide tools for designing public displays such as large-scale aquariums, and therefore reduce their dependence on living corals and provide valuable design guidance and tools as we approach the issue of active restoration of coral reefs, "the researchers explained.

"The biological re-results of the studies must be further processed and analyzed before they are published. However, the design part of the process is completed when the second phase, in which 20 sites in the Red Sea have been installed for monitoring. show that fish and invertebrates use 3D printed corals and find a good "home" for them to trust to lay their eggs [in]"they concluded.

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