Reef Innovations

Taking a Closer Look at Reef Degradation Causes

October 30, 2023 by Joseph Sullivan  

What causes ocean reefs to degrade and lose much of their diverse sea life?

It’s a fascinating question, and its implications drive our focus for creating artificial reef products. In this article, we’ll explore the interdependent environmental factors affecting the depletion of coral reefs worldwide.

Why Coral Reefs Degrade

The organisms that “bring coral to life,” so to speak, are algae known as Zooxanthellae. They not only provide coral with their beautiful/dynamic colors, but perform the essential life-sustaining work by feeding it through photosynthesis.

Alas, algae are vulnerable to whatever’s happening around them. Environmental changes to the water salinity, temperature, or pollution can cause coral to emit some of the Zooxanthellae. Whenever that happens, the coral will exhibit a “bleached” or white appearance, the unmistakable sign of poor health.

Coral Reef

Permanent Damage?

While reefs can (and often do) recover on their own, the damage can become permanent if bleaching lasts too long. Sustained pollution and dangerous contaminants can prolong the loss of algae, which can eventually kill entire sections of coral, altogether. This is a considerable setback for any aquatic biosphere because coral reefs are viable habitats for many forms of marine life.

Economic Impact of Reef Degradation

Reefs aren’t merely an aesthetic part of the ocean or home for sea creatures. They’re also an important part of protecting shores. Just like you wouldn’t want to remove all the vegetation alongside a river, for fear of the consequences from heavy flooding, it’s also important to have coral systems for protection and to support local fishing opportunities.

Without coral reefs, there will inevitably be fewer fish in the sea, which will contribute to weaker fishing yields. Coral reefs are also a major source of economic benefit for tourist locations, who depend on their majestic beauty and habitation for exotic marine life.

Reef Innovations – How We Address the Problem

Our business has developed improved ways to resolve the problem of reef degradation. We make artificial reef habitats (reef balls, cubes, layer cakes, smart reefs, and more) to help rejuvenate areas affected by coral depletion. This involves deploying small, medium, and large underwater structures to affected areas. With some strategic positioning, we can use reef balls and other structures to invite fish back into these damaged zones, help restart coral development, and more.

Since what we’ve mentioned here only touches the surface of what’s possible for reef restoration, you’re welcome to reach us to learn more about this pressing topic. The Reef Innovations team have over 30 years of experience manufacturing reef balls and other proven restoration solutions to counter reef depletion. Contact us anytime to find out how you can be part of this commendable effort by calling 941-330-0501.

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With over 30 years of combined experience in research, product design, and manufacturing of Reef Balls, Reef Innovations is a leader in innovative design and construction materials for Reef and Breakwater projects.

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