Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology

by Reef Life Foundation
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Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Restoring Kelp Forests with Nanotechnology
Sep 11, 2022

70% to 100% KELP Growth on Oceanite in 4 Months: Nova Scotia Canada

Kelp Restoration Modules in Halifax
Kelp Restoration Modules in Halifax

There are Vital and Highly Encouraging Rapid Species Attraction and Growth-- Surpassing what our research teams thought would happen, and far quicker!

IntelliReefs- SDG Community Impact on Vimeo

Kelp and other organisms are growing on the Oceanite modules, captured in the quadrant photos, videos and eDNA results:  Upgrades to Ocean species community will continue to develop over the coming months.

STAY TUNED--- IntelliReefs in Halifax 5th October 2022 for Home - World Ocean initiative (economist.com)

And in the meantime, the fact that the lone Oceanite module in shallow water is completely covered with kelp already (even surpassing our expectations in terms of how large it is already!) is definitely something that can be focussed on as a success when reporting on the project.

Although we didn't do any quantitative sampling on that module (e.g. quadrats), we can tell from the video ROV video, and will be also visible in the 360 camera video,------that there is 100% cover of kelp on that shallow depth module.

The first round of scientific monitoring on the reef array took place in April 2022. We found that the majority of the surface area of the Oceanite modules was covered in a foundational community of filamentous algae, but that juvenile kelp sporophytes (5-10 cm) had also colonized the Oceanite. An associated faunal community of sessile invertebrates (e.g. jingles), motile invertebrates (e.g. sea stars), and fish (e.g. sculpins) was also present. In contrast, the concrete modules were mostly bare, with sparse cover of filamentous algae and no kelp. Lastly, there was a striking influence of depth on the coverage and size of kelp, as the Oceanite module in shallow water had 100% cover of large (~30 cm) kelp sporophytes (Saccharina latissima).

I expect that the rest of the modules in deeper water will eventually end up like this - it will just take longer, they are 70% covered in 4 months. So I believe this project is a solid success as a proof-of-concept that Oceanite is a suitable substrate for kelp colonization in the wild, even in a degraded urban water body. Although the fish video results are not completely what we hoped, The COVE harbour is quite degraded-- not like our clear Caribbean waters.

The eDNA reporting is quite impressive as well, some of which are attached here. Nature Metrics did a very complete analysis, IntelliReefs, along with industry partner Dominion Diving, is conducting periodic monitoring the Oceanite and concrete modules to assess the settlement and growth of kelp and the development of its associated rocky subtidal community.

Monitoring tasks include: 1) assessing the settlement and growth of kelp and other benthic organisms on the Oceanite and concrete modules over time using photo quadrats; 2) using video monitoring techniques to catalogue the community of motile fish and invertebrates associated with the modules; and 3) comparing the motile community and environmental DNA signatures of the reef site with a soft-bottom reference site within the Cove.

Kelp beds are vital marine ecosystems in temperate regions, as they host high biodiversity, support commercial fisheries, and help combat climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, ever-increasing development of coastal areas in temperate regions of the world is threatening these valuable coastal ecosystems by decreasing water quality and destroying kelp habitat. Altering artificial underwater structures to optimize their suitability as kelp habitat and building new habitat using artificial reefs can mitigate the impact of coastal development on kelp bed ecosystems. IntelliReefs has developed Oceanite, a novel mineral aggregate material, as an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete in the marine environment and has used this material to create highly effective coral reef habitat in tropical environments. Now, IntelliReefs has deployed a pilot study in an urban harbour in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada to test the ability of Oceanite to attract and foster the recruitment and growth of kelp and the development of their associated communities. This project will provide the base knowledge necessary to launch Oceanite as a kelp substrate for numerous applications in temperate environments.

On November 21st, 2021, IntelliReefs deployed a pilot artificial reef array in Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia, Canada. The reefs were deployed in Dartmouth Cove, a highly contaminated area of the harbour, to provide a proof of concept for the application of IntelliReefs to revitalize kelp habitat in degraded urban environments. Deployed at a depth of 8-9 m, the artificial reef array consists of 16 large (approx. 1 m3) Oceanite modules differing in porosity (porous vs. dense) and height (90 cm vs 122 cm), resulting in a crossed experimental design with 4 groups of 4 modules. To compare the development of kelp communities on Oceanite with conventional construction materials, a control group of 3 concrete modules was deployed along with the Oceanite modules. Finally, to assess the effect of depth on the development of the biological community on the Oceanite reefs, one module was deployed at a shallow location (2-3 m) within the Cove.

IntelliReefs, along with industry partner Dominion Diving, is conducting periodic monitoring the Oceanite and concrete modules to assess the settlement and growth of kelp and the development of its associated rocky subtidal community. Monitoring tasks include: 1) assessing the settlement and growth of kelp and other benthic organisms on the Oceanite and concrete modules over time using photo quadrats; 2) using video monitoring techniques to catalogue the community of motile fish and invertebrates associated with the modules; and 3) comparing the motile community and environmental DNA signatures of the reef site with a soft-bottom reference site within the Cove. The first round of scientific monitoring on the reef array took place in April 2022. We found that the majority of the surface area of the Oceanite modules was covered in a foundational community of filamentous algae, but that juvenile kelp sporophytes (5-10 cm) had also colonized the Oceanite. An associated faunal community of sessile invertebrates (e.g. jingles), motile invertebrates (e.g. sea stars), and fish (e.g. sculpins) was also present. In contrast, the concrete modules were mostly bare, with sparse cover of filamentous algae and no kelp. Lastly, there was a striking influence of depth on the coverage and size of kelp, as the Oceanite module in shallow water had 100% cover of large (~30 cm) kelp sporophytes (Saccharina latissima).

 IntelliReefs will continue conduct scientific monitoring overtime to accumulate empirical data assessing the efficacy of Oceanite as a basis for kelp communities. This monitoring program will allow IntelliReefs to quantify the success of Oceanite in attracting and fostering a healthy kelp community in an urban setting, and to compare this community to the baseline state of the area where the reefs were deployed. 

STAY TUNED--- IntelliReefs in Halifax 5th October 2022 for Home - World Ocean initiative (economist.com)

Hundreds of Kelp Growth Modules Researched
Hundreds of Kelp Growth Modules Researched
Massive Kelp Module Deployment Ireland Wind Farm
Massive Kelp Module Deployment Ireland Wind Farm
Oceanite Benefits
Oceanite Benefits
IntelliReefs Teams win Global Awards
IntelliReefs Teams win Global Awards
UN SDG Award for Kelp Scientific Success
UN SDG Award for Kelp Scientific Success

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Reef Life Foundation

Location: Cottonwd Hts, UT - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @ReefLife911
Project Leader:
Emily Higgins
Holladay, Utah United States
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