An Oasis Created by Oceanite:
Our Oceanite structures in the Caribbean are full of marine life! Pictured below are just some of the adorable ocean creatures seen on our IntelliReefs. Check out their candid camera close-ups!!
On our Oceanite IntelliReefs, we have observed sponges, corals, fish, sharks, worms, turtles, alga, and more! This Sint Maarten site is evolving into a gorgeous oasis for local marine life, thanks to our super-substrate: Oceanite.
Oceanite is unlike traditional artificial reef substrates, which often have high pH levels that harm animal tissue and need years of harmful off-gassing before settlement can occur. Traditional artificial reefs are smooth, making it challenging for life to attach once the reef is finally usable. Oceanite solves the shortcomings of traditional artificial reefs, providing immediate habitat for coral, sponges, crustaceans, and fish. The pilot site had rapid marine acceptance within fourteen months.
Restoring nature restores humanity. IntelliReefs structures provide (1) out-planters with a reliable place to plant coral; (2) a welcoming substrate that attracts wild coral; (3) a high volume of immediately available surface for growth; (4) necessary levels of shade; (5) the ability to scale up for both the needs of nature and humanity. After Oceanite is deployed, wild coral settle, outplantings establish, fish begin to feed, and sponges grow, our impact is lasting and our work is not done. The continual monitoring of the increase in biodiversity and coral health creates jobs for locals; the education programs continue to unite the next generation with their home and encourage women in science; and the local economy thrives through eco-tourism. It is a Nature-Based solution with immediate results and consistently provides return on investment by lifting the entire community, socially, economically, and by increasing environmental resilience.
Cute Creatures Found on IntelliReefs (& their Food Chains):
Meet the Ocean's Cutest Little Christmas Trees! Spriobranchus giganteus, also known as the "Christmas tree worm" is a marine worm species that reside in tropical coral reefs.
When these worms feel safe, hair-like appendages (similar to tentacles) sprout out of a central spiral-shaped spine, grabbing food particles and facilitating respiration.
Christmas Tree Worms are sedentary animals. When they find a healthy coral to settle on and burrow into, they stay put for their entire lives. Fun fact: They can live to be 40 YEARS OLD!!
The majority of Christmas Tree Worm's anatomy resides hidden from our view, rooted and weaved throughout the interior of whatever coral they chose as home.
Thanks to the presence of IntelliReef's Oceanite, these Christmas Tree Worms were able to find a home and thrive.
(Local fish love to eat these worms!)
Scopalina ruetzleri (Orange Ruffle Sponge) is pictured below. Ocean sponges clean and filtrate marine water, further healing the ecosystem.
Sea turtles love to rip these sponges off of our Oceanite structures and eat them for a hearty meal! Hawksbill sea turtles diet is comprised mainly of sea sponges, which thrive on the IntelliReefs. Once the sponges are eaten, the structres substrate is opened up, allowing for other organisms such as coral to grow in their place.
Species ID for our photos:
Scientific Name: Holocentrus adscensionis
2. Tomate Grunt Fish (Juvenile)
Scientific Name: Haemulon aurolinaeatum
3. Christmas Tree Worms
Scientific Name: Spriobranchus giganteus
4. Overview of Module
5. Orange Ruffle Sponge
Scientific Name: Scopalina ruetzleri
6. Ocean Surgeonfish
Scientific Name: Acanthurus bahianus
7. Sharpnose Puffer
Scientific Name: Canthigaster rostrata
8. Hawksbill Sea Turtle eating Marine Sponges
GOOD NEWS, Sponges are flourishing around ALL of the Caribbean Deployments
Of Reef Life Foundation, whose Oceanite Inventions Are Saving MORE than CORALS
“Nature gives us hundreds of services for free." Naturalist, Edward O. Wilson, American biologist, repeatedly quoted, letting “this fast human world” know that Ecology means Economy, ---Sponges on Coral Reefs work for free, filtering water surrounding reefs which attract Nurse Sharks and thousands of other fish species to thrive!~
Nurse sharks are an important species for research, primarily in the area of shark physiology. The species is fished for food and leather, building local economic growth to islands where Reef Life Foundation works. Because of their docile nature, nurse sharks are popular with divers and ecotourists, and are drawn to Healthy Reefs,
Sponges Build Oxygen in Ocean "Oasis" on Reef Life Projects! (reeflifefoundation.org)
Sponges are not casual components of the fauna in coral reefs worldwide. From fringing coral reefs, atolls, and patch reefs, to deeper reef escarpments, reef walls, or mesophotic reefs (50-150 m deep), sponges surpass any animal phyla in terms of species richness and living biomass in most tropical coral reefs (Diaz and Rützler, 2001; Reed et al., 2018). In the Caribbean, the number of different sponge species at any reef ranges from 50-300 species, and a large difference on species composition can be found among reefs within “15 km” (Hooper, 2018).
Figure 2. An IntelliReef prototype in Sint. Martin after 20 months underwater. The massive ramose salmon sponge, Desmapsanma anchorata, cradling a recruit of a coral Millepora species. Photo by: The Nature Foundation
Sea sponges off New Zealand’s southern coastline have been found bleached bone-white for the first time, following extreme ocean temperatures,
OUR IntelliReefs have continued, HEALTHY Sponge and Species Growth!
WATER FILTRATION is a SPONGE Species Daily REEF WORK!
Either as emergent species with bodies built onto the water column as tubes, barrels, branches, and balls, or as thin extensive crusts that thrive on cryptic habitats (crevices, or caverns), sponges play a significant role in the quality of water surrounding a reef. Sponges filter large amounts (up to 1 l per cm3 per hour, sensu Reiswig, 1976) of sea water with the help of the myriad of microbes inhabiting their bodies. With an almost continued movement and transformation of the water processed by these organisms, sponges are known to be major players in the processing of main nutrients like Nitrogen (a major compound for proteins), building healthier, expanded species oceanic communities.
GOOD NEWS, Sponges are flourishing in on and around ALL of the Caribbean Deployments
Of Reef Life Foundation, whose Oceanite Inventions Are Saving MORE than CORALS
IntelliReefs has been officially endorsed for their coral restoration "Decade Action" project under the UN Decade of Ocean Science.
As the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration take off, IntelliReefs US and Canadian offices are ramping up to answer the global call for innovative ocean solutions. Earlier this year, IntelliReefs submitted a "Decade Action" for the Ocean Decade, detailing the expansion of their large research and coral reef restoration project in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten with the local Nature Foundation. The team received news this week that IntelliReefs' Decade Action has been officially endorsed by the UN in a letter from the Executive Secretary of IOC-UNESCO.
Reef Life Foundation, was recently nominated for the "Ocean Tribute" Award by boot Düsseldorfand their partners the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco and German Ocean Foundation. The award will be given 5th April 2022 Stay Tuned!
We won an Energy Globe Award, and many others in 2021 as our science proof points are globally accepted, and monitoring is ongoing!
Stay Tuned for latest videos!
Our Everlasting Gratitude to you-- our GlobalGiving team for your continued Generosity, this brings Life Back to Oceans-- A Measurable part of Planetary Health-- Thank you!!
Following the success found during second year of monitoring of the "Homes for the Ocean's Homeless" project in Sint Maarten, we have been designing our next phase of research and restoration.
The IntelliReefs artificial reefs off the coast of Philipsburg have been found to enhance biodiversity, increase coral settlement, feed fish 4x higher than other artificial reef materials, and accelerate the regrowing of a healthy reef community.
With these results, we are moving forward with Phase 4 of the project to scale up our restoration work. Working with the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten and IntelliReefs, we have designed a large scale habitat restoration system called "ReefShip". This modular system integrates within the existing natural reef system and provides additional, bio mimicking habitat for fish, corals, and bio diverse reef species where it is needed the most.
We are currently speaking with private funders interested in a participatory conservation experience in Sint Maarten. We have designed an ecotourism experience with local tourism companies for our funders to witness and participate in our next phase of deployment and research. The story will be documented with an international film crew.
After just over 2 years underwater (28 months) off the coast of Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, the world’s first biomimicking nanotechnology artificial reefs are thriving. Since IntelliReefs' last monitoring round in January 2020, the world first nanotechnology artificial reefs have continued to attract and grow large stony and soft corals, fire corals, sponges, tubeworms, and a wide variety of other reef-building species.
We feed FISH every 15 seconds!!
In January 2020, IntelliReefs' divers found 6 small coral recruits from one species (Porites asteroides) on their artificial reef in the MPA off the coast of Philipsburg. This March, divers found 24 different corals on the structure from three different species (Porites asteroides, Agaricia agaricites, and Favia fragrum) - a 400% increase in visible coral recruitment. This kind of biodiversity in restoration initiatives helps provide resilience in the face of climate upcoming stressors. These key reef species provide habitat and food for other fish and invertebrates, as well as perform important ecosystem functions - such as nutrient cycling. IntelliReefs, Reef Life Foundation, and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation are currently gearing up to dive into the next round of sampling this July to further assess this ongoing study.
IntelliReefs is designing "Blue Barriers" to help build future food and economic security in the ocean. Climate change is causing oceans to rise quicker than scientists’ most pessimistic forecasts, resulting in earlier flood risks to coastal economies already struggling to adapt. IntelliReefs has developed biomimicking, self-healing coastal defense systems that protect shoreline properties and restore coral reefs at the same time.
Nature is essential for sustainably and quickly addressing the impacts of climate change. Researchers have found that healthy reefs with live corals and biodiverse reef life dissipate wave force by nearly 97% (Ferrario et al. 2014). Traditional man-made breakwaters and jetties can actually erode the seafloor by reflecting wave force instead of absorbing it, creating sinkholes and interrupting beach formation.
A recent publication in Ocean Science has revised earlier estimates, projecting that rapid sea level rise will now impact the two-fifths of the Earth’s population who live near coastlines. Insured property worth trillions of dollars could face even greater danger from floods, superstorms and tidal surges. This research suggests that countries will have to rein in their greenhouse gas emissions even more than expected to keep sea levels in check.
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