The Underwater Robot That Can Help ‘reforest’ The World’s Coral Reefs

Corals are seriously threatened by the current environmental situation. But there is hope, an underwater robot that grows larvae that endure warm waters.

Corals are seriously threatened by destructive fishing practices, pollution, and warming waters.

As a result, corals lose their symbiotic algae and living tissues become transparent. This affection annihilates them.

Robotics for the environment.

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has developed an underwater robot that can carry up to 100,000 small heat-resistant corals. The coral larvae come from Australia and have a high tolerance for the warm waters typical of the area.

Larvalpot complements the actions of another protector known as COTSbot, created to control the population of  crown-of-thorns starfish that feed on live corals.

This starfish is native to Indo-Pacific coral reefs, in recent years there has been a population explosion, partly as a result of overfishing by its natural predators, such as giant newt snails and Maori wrasse. This little robot detects and eliminates them, thus controlling their population and preventing it from damaging the reefs.

LarvalBot relies on larval restoration of coral reefs. For this, the spawning is done in large floating enclosures and once the larvae have developed, they are placed on the robot until they are sprayed on dead areas of the reef.

The reproduction of corals.

Baby coral must settle down to grow and will be able to reproduce for approximately three years afterward.

Coral spawning usually occurs in late November, when they usually bloom. When they release their gametes, yellow, white and orange clouds form in all areas where there are reefs.

When the flowers rise to the surface, fertilization occurs . In due course the embryos develop into larvae and then descend to the seabed to adhere to the substrate and form a colony.

Three Larvalpot robots are expected to collect the flowers to plant reefs at the rate of 1,500 square meters per hour.

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