Coral reef ecosystems are suffering globally from the effects of ocean warming and other stressors. Dealing with these issues is paramount to the long-term existence of reefs. However, active propagation of corals is critical to maintain reefs in the interim. Coral restoration has been shown to be successful at the reef scale, but significant scale-up and improved efficiency is necessary to be successful at larger scales.
While coral restoration can take on different forms from the deployment of fully grown corals (greater then >20cm and weighing in excess of 1 kg) to placement of small coral fragments (<1cm and nearly weightless), almost all forms involve permanently securing small or large corals to existing or artificial reef.
Today corals are primarily secured to the reef using a hand mixed two-part adhesive that has a clay/putty like consistency. This is time consuming, as the reef site has to prepared; the adhesive needs to be hand mixed; set-up time is slow; and the material is not “tacky” and therefore requires precise placement. Currently, the time involved in physically attaching corals is one of the major bottlenecks to efficient coral restoration.
Applications in this subtopic might include innovative ideas for adhesives that are simply used underwater. While not required, some areas of interest within this subtopic include ones that address the following:
- Negatively buoyant in seawater. A consistency that is tacky/sticky underwater immediately with no wait time - that “grabs” both the substrate and the coral.
- Able to be deployed from a “caulk gun” type device as well as from a small nozzle or syringe.
- Ability to be used in large/bulk amounts (>20ml for entire corals) or small/precise amounts (<1ml for microfragments) depending on use and deployment device.
- Requires minimal surface prep.
- Initial set-up (requires external force to break free) time of 1- 2 minutes but less than 10 min.
- Full cure setup time of less than 12 hours,
- Able to work in salt water.
- Non-toxic to marine life.
- Minimal to no surface preparation.