In june 2019, I had the great pleasure and opportunity to follow the Biorock Process Speciality Course, -a technique to create artificial coral reefs-, with Delphine Robbe, the one who started to restore the reefs in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. She is also the foundator of the Gili Eco Trust an NGO which take care about the Waste Management, Eco tourism and care horses and cats.
Birock Technology is amazing. To create artificial coral reefs, you need to start building a steel structure and putting a low voltage of direct current through it when it sunk in the ocean. When the structure is fixed into the water, you will attach pieces of corals that are still alive, – broken pieces you can collect on others damaged reefs-, on the structures.
Due to the low voltage current and resulting electrolytic reaction a stable substrate is formed of calcium carbonate around the metal, providing a sturdy surface for corals to cement to.
This low voltage also promotes the corals grow faster and stronger than on natural reefs. Doing this, Gili Eco Trust restores the beauty coral reefs of Gili Trawangan in a short period of time.
They have proven to be more resilient than natural reefs in severe bleaching events of 2009, 2010 and 2016. More than 120 structures are placed in the water around the Gili Islands, foresting a lot of new corals and a vast area for fish life and biodiversity.
Every week, Delphine and her Blue Team is doing reef surveys to check how the substrate and différents fishes families and invertebrates adapt to the global change. It’s not only the increase of ocean temperature which cause the corals bleaching, but also the acidity of the water. When the two are combined the damaged can be fast and terrible.
Coral is a complex animal who needs a preserved biodiversity. Each small change can affect it in long term. What we can observe is how the human activity is destructive. Fishing, anchoring, sewage, pollution, plastic and micro plastic, tourists with bad behavior have a direct impact on the coral survival.
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