The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is in need of some help due to the adverse effects of climate change, and it’s getting assistance from an unlikely source: a small robot.
The robot in question is the LarvalBot, an underwater drone which has been helping to repopulate the Great Barrier Reef and has recently dispersed more than 100,000 heat-resistant coral larvae throughout damaged reef segments. In order to ensure that climate change won’t negatively affect the larvae moving forward, they were picked from species that have shown to be warm water tolerant.
As time passes, the scientists behind the bot will monitor the reefs to make sure that the larvae all grow correctly. If so, they will develop the LarvalBot, which is just the size of a briefcase, to deploy millions more in the future.
“This year represents a big step up for our larval restoration research and the first time we’ve been able to capture coral spawn on a bigger scale using large floating spawn catchers then rearing them into tiny coral larvae in our specially constructed larval pools and settling them on damaged reef areas,” said Southern Cross University’s Professor Peter Harrison.
As you can see, this amazing underwater drone is already doing much more than its share to repopulate a remarkable oceanic population. “With further research and refinement, this technique has enormous potential to operate across large areas of reef and multiple sites in a way that hasn’t previously been possible,” Harrison continued.
The best part is, much more is to come depending on the initial success of the transplant. Harrison has said as much himself. “We’ll be closely monitoring the progress of settled baby corals over coming months and working to refine both the technology and the technique to scale up further in 2019,” the scientist recently said.