Can We Replace Lost Coral Reefs With 3-D Printed Versions?

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07 November 2013

Overfishing, pollution and climate change are pushing the ocean’s coral reefs to the brink of extinction. Depending on the region, average declines in coral reef cover can range from 40 to 80 percent. And a recent study reports that reefs may be eradicated entirely in the lifetime of a child born today if steps aren’t taken to reduce ocean acidification.

In an effort to restore that lost ocean life, Reef Arabia, a group of marine biologists in the Middle East, is using 3-D printing to manufacture synthetic reefs and deposit them on the Persian Gulf floor. The gulf is no stranger to mass coral death: According to the World Resources Institute, rampant offshore and coastal developments in Bahrain have contributed to depletion of coral reef cover in the waters there to almost 0 percent. Read more