Could 3D printing save our coral reefs?

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In the face of global warming and climate change, the world is experiencing the worst-ever coral bleaching event, and seems it won’t get better.

The WWF estimates that 50% of the world’s coral reefs has disappeared in the last 30 years.

In an effort to help sustain the coral reefs and their delicate ecosystems, scientists from around the world have tried a variety of innovative methods.

Most recently, one group of international experts – including D-Shape, Reef Design Lab and Reef Arabia – is using 3D printing to replace damaged reefs around the world.

Scientists claimed that the project, which is also the world’s first 3D printed reef, has already shown signs of success in Bahrain and Monaco, where it has been implemented.

“The 3D printer allows us to print an incredible range of different organic, natural-looking shapes,” says David Lenon, co-founder, Reef Design Lab.

To create the reefs, instead of using plastics, scientists used sand – one of the most natural materials you could ever use.

Seems 3D printing improves this process, producing reefs that better imitate hard coral.

Scientists believe this technlogy is revolutionising and is the way of the future.

Coral bleaching -a consequence of rising sea temperatures or pollution – is the loss of intracellular endosymbionts (Symbiodinium, also known as zooxanthellae) from coral either through expulsion or loss of algal pigmentation.