LarvalBot Planting New Coral on Australian Reef
Just when it seems that humans have had a hand in destroying most of what we hold dear on earth, like the air, the waters, and rainforests, along comes an Aussie idea that may be helping to rebuild our diminishing coral reefs, which are dying because of global warming. An estimated 29% has died in the short period between 2014 and 2016.
A team of Australian scientists built an underwater robot that can deliver larval coral to the Great Barrier reef, where they hope it will help restore the reef to some of its former glory before it was ravaged by climate change and human-caused problems.
In an article from futurism.com, we find good news about LarvalBots. The delivery drone, LarvalBot, is a more hospitable version of the underwater drone that has previously been used to hunt and kill off the coral’s predators — yet another experiment in using robotics to protect and help recover the world’s coral reefs.
To re-seed the coral reef with larvae first you need to gather that particular coral sperm and seed. Back in November, the researchers gathered millions of coral sperm and egg cells for what they called at the time “IVF for coral.”
Southern Cross University’s Professor Peter Harrison and Queensland University of Technology’s Professor Matthew Dunbabin won the 2018 Out of the Blue Box Reef Innovation Challenge for designing the program, which involves 3D printing coral. Their idea was to apture and grow coral spawn before using them to repopulate damaged reefs.
The teams LarvalBot robot disperses the larvae into recovering and growing reefs, helping to replace missing algae and improve the annual spawning season.
Matthew compares the process to fertilizing a lawn.
“Using an iPad to program the mission, a signal is sent to deliver the larvae and it is gently pushed out by Larvalbot,” Matthew said.
The news may help oceans worldwide. Read more at futurism.com