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  • Writer's pictureIntelliReefs NanoTech Team

Patch Reefs Build Ocean Biodiversity

Updated: Apr 26

Structural Coral Hardscape "Far Better than a Band Aid" Site By Site Solutions

Artificial Patch Reefs For the Great Barrier Reef: A New Hope in Reef Life Rehabilitation

As Australians, we take pride in co-existing to the list of one of the Seven Wonders

of the Natural World: the Great Barrier Reef. As the world’s largest coral reef system

with an area of over 86.2 million acres, the GBR plays a crucial role in Australian

economics as a result of tourism each year, and in Australian biodiversity,

entertaining thousands of species from organisms as large as the humpback whale,

to as miniscule as the coral polyps that make up the reef.

However, in our ever-changing

climate, the GBR has been hugely affected by warmer ocean temperatures, leading to mass coral bleaching events, as well as by increased human activity, wherein reefs may be damaged by equipment or animals overfished. As the GBR Marine

Park continues to work on fishing restrictions and limits on human use, IntelliReefs is working on introducing their revolutionary compound Oceanite to help revitalize coral reef life in this corner of the world, in the form of Oceanite Patch Reefs. What are Patch Reefs?

Patch reefs are isolated coral formations that are physically separated by sand rings, and typically grow on the continental shelf within lagoons, larger reef systems or

atolls. Here, they prefer shallower calmer waters, allowing for an optimal exposure to

sunlight and for a stabler environment for spore settlement and germination.

Henceforth, they are good at being nurseries: they provide shelter for young juvenile fish, and especially protection from larger predatory taxa that are unable to access inner sections of the reef system. Food sources are made abundant across outcroppings for inhabitants, and also for humans due to the 10- to 20-foot depths in these areas, making snorkelling accessible. Nonetheless, these patch reefs help protect coastlines from erosion by breaking up wave energy 1 , and are valuable for scientific research, providing insights into marine biodiversity and ecosystem

dynamics 2,3 . (in REFERENCES)

OCEANITE Patch Reefs: Scientific Hardscape Solution

Oceanite is a complex matrix of minerals, held together by our proprietary nanobinder, developed specifically for diverse species growth and immediate integration within local ecosystems. We use Oceanite to construct our self-healing IntelliReefs modules.
IntelliReefs was endorsed in the first cohort by the United Nations Project #112 in the Decade of Ocean Science ENDORSEMENT INFO:

In response to the degradation of natural reefs, researchers at IntelliReefs propose

their mineral matrix Oceanite as a solution. Rather than using metal deposits or 3D-

printed sculptures, which are likely to corrode or even release toxins into the water,

Oceanite is a pervious long-lasting matrix that mimics hard reef substrate and provides

new habitat for marine life in areas where natural reefs have been damaged or

destroyed. From depositing a hardscape surface, and pervious viability (Water FLOWS Through the Habitats!) on the continental shelf, coral spores would be able to anchor and henceforth flourish, as opposed to substrates such as silt or sand that coral cannot attach and thus not recruit onto 4 . A study by Jordan et al. (2005) confirms that not only does total fish abundance and richness increase with the addition of artificial reef modules, but they also increase when the isolation distance between modules is increased 5 . In studying the emergence of new reef life on Oceanite as part of IntelliReefs restoration project in Sint Maarten, it is proven that these Oceanite Marine Mineral Habitats can host 100% coverage after only 14 months, whilst encouraging a 400% boost in biodiversity.

In considering the further applications of this, and the subsequent acceleration of growth and expansion of these coral forests, Oceanite is planned to be dispersed further along the eastern Australian continental shelf, aiding scientists, conservationists, and IntelliReefs in

achieving their goals for sustainably recovering coral reef life in the Great Barrier Reef for

the long term.

Christiana Brothers IntelliReefs Science Writer


1. Spalding, M. 2004. A Guide to the Coral Reefs of the Caribbean. University of

California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24405-4.

2. RL Lippson and AJ Lippson. Life Along the Inner Coast: A Naturalist’s Guide to the

Sounds, Inlets, Rivers, and Intracoastal Waterway from Norfolk to Key West. The

University of North Carolina Press. 2099. 387-400.

3. McGinley, M. The Encyclopedia of Earth “Coral reef fish feeding behaviour in the

Caribbean.” Last modified 2014. Accessed April 5, 2024.

4. Erftemeijer, P, Riegl, B, Hoeksema, BW, Todd, P. 2012. Environmental impacts of

dredging and other sediment disturbances on corals: A review. Marine Pollution

Bulletin. 64(9):1737-65.

5. Jordan, LKB, Gilliam, DS, Spieler, RE. 2005. Reef fish assemblage structure

affected by small-scale spacing and size variations of artificial patch reefs. Journal of

Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 326(2):170-186.

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