Rubber algae help create first artificial reef in Mediterranean

Tiny, artificial algae are being deployed in the first such effort to restore reefs in the Mediterranean Sea.They look like coralline algae, which have a similar ecological function to corals: forming reefs using calcium carbonate structures that create diverse and complex environments.“Coralline algae are particularly ecologically important in shallow, temperate regions,” says Federica Ragazzola at the University of Portsmouth, UK. They are ecosystem engineers, providing habitats for numerous small invertebrates and shelter from physical stresses such as wave action, because coralline algae live in exposed areas.However, as the reefs they build are made from a soluble form of calcium carbonate, they are vulnerable to an ongoing ocean acidification.So Ragazzola partnered with researchers from the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) to explore whether artificial coralline algae reefs can protect the organisms living on them against ocean acidification, as well as acting as scaffolds for natural coralline algae reefs to grow.

Source: Rubber algae help create first artificial reef in Mediterranean | New Scientist

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