However, pollution, climate change, and careless tourism practices have led to degradation of these coral reefs. To that end, new research has emerged which primarily focuses on rebuilding artificial coral reef systems using a 3D printing model.
Researchers at the University of Technion University, University of Ben Gurion of the Negev and Bar Ilan University, have collaborated on a project for the creation of 3D printed coral reefs. Research is aimed at mitigating the degradation of coral reefs and the technology is now being applied off the coast of Eilat, reports Daily Times. These 3D printed reefs imitate the natural shape of the coral reefs that in turn helps attract different species of fish who use them as their home. 3D Printers make use of polyactic acid which is a biodegradable and bio-active bio-plastic made using corn, cassava, or sugarcane. These are then formed into columns and installed into water. Researchers have also experimented with different shapes, colors, and materials to reach the final design of the product.
This 3D printing coral reefs technology will help the scientists further gain an insight into whether these man made structures can actually help foster a natural ecosystem. “A successful implementation of this study may enhance our understanding of coral interactions with their surrounding environment, provide design tools for public displays such as large-scale aquariums and hence reduce their dependence on live corals, and provide a valuable design guidelines and tools when approaching the matter of active coral reef restoration,” explained researchers.
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Published on mashable.com and written by Natasha Mathur