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Artificial Coral Reef | Qatar University

Artificial Coral Reef

2020-11-04
Gardening-in-the-Arabian-Gulf.jpg

The Problem

For Qatar, like much of the planet, climate change is an ever-present concern. As demand for urban expansion increases, the country’s construction industry is booming – causing inevitable tension between Qatar’s economic and environmental agendas.

One area that has suffered dramatically is the Arabian Gulf’s natural coral reef. Common estimates suggest that just 2% of coral life here has survived since humans began their development of the region.

The solution

Dr-Bruno-Welter-Giraldes But a bold new plan led by experts at Qatar University hopes to change this trajectory: the Mushroom Forest Artificial Reef is the brainchild of Dr. Bruno Welter Giraldes, research assistant professor of marine biology at the university’s Environmental Science Center. Unlike many of the planet’s reefs – which are threatened by rising sea temperatures among other changes in climate – the Arabian Peninsula has one of the only types of coral reef ecosystems able to survive high temperatures. Experts believe that the loss of marine life here is therefore a direct consequence of pollution, overfishing, and in particular, coastal sedimentation spurred on by construction work along the coast.

Originally from Brazil, Dr. Giraldes came up with the idea of the mushroom reef after becoming fascinated with an unusual coral formation called chapeirões, which grows off the Brazilian coastline. “It is only one species that grows vertically, creating something like a Greek column,” he explains. "When they get nearer the surface they spread laterally, creating a mushroom effect.”

“If we can create artificial structures that naturally adapt to the marine environment, with a bit of help, we can ‘farm’ marine life indoors before introducing them to artificial reefs – I call it ‘gardening’,” he says.

For more information
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343837238_The_Mushroom_Forest_Artificial_Reef

Dr-Bruno-Welter-Giraldes

Dr. Bruno Welter Giraldes
Research Assistant Professor of Marine Biology