Reefballs - Reef Ball Foundation

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Do you see the brownish colored areas in
the water out beyond the shoreline?
   That is where a tropical coral reef once
    But now has been replaced by man-made
    structures, designed to emulate natural reef
    formation and coral reef ecosystems.

 WHY?
Restoration of the Coral Reefs
   Reefs are the rainforests of the Sea. Like
    forests, the various types of reefs are
    extremely important as a habitat for an
    enormous number of species. Any
    imbalance created, whether it be natural
    causes or man’s influence, has a long term
    effect on the biodiversity in the area.
World Map of Coral Reefs
                  Statistics say more
                   than half of the coral
                   reefs will be
                   destroyed by 2100
                  10% of the World’s
                   coral reefs are
                   degraded beyond
Hot Spots have been identified as
the most threatened coral reef
ecosystems in the world.
Precious Ecosystem
   It is estimated that a mere 2/10ths of 1% of
    the total ocean area contain the world’s
    coral reefs, which provide habitat to 1/3 of
    all marine fish species, and tens of
    thousand of other species
Rapidly Degrading Areas
   The Indian Ocean – areas could be totally
    devoid of living coral in 20 years
   The Caribbean- the amount of reef covered
    by live coral has shrunk by 80% in the last
    three decades
   Philippines – no regulation of over fishing
Why are the reefs important?
   Tens of millions of people depend on reefs to
    provide them with food and to protect tropical
    shorelines from erosion.
   Coral reefs also have great aesthetic value and
    support a huge biodiversity with some estimate
    running into the millions of species.
   As possible reservoirs of medicines, particularly
    biomedical, that hold the promise of cures for
    many diseases
   Coral reefs are striking, complex, and important
    features of the marine environment.
   Provide recreation and tourism (economic livelihood
    of local areas).
   Divers have seen first hand the damage that
    mans’ activities has done to the marine
    environment, these days surpassing the
    damage done by a reefs other natural peril,
    storm damage.
Causes of Coral Reef
Degradation – Natural Stresses
Crown of Thorns
  (Starfish) predator
  outbreaks and
Coral Reef Degradation- Natural
   Tropical storm
Coral Reef Destruction – Natural
   Warmer ocean
    fluctuations resulting
    in coral bleaching
   global warming
   Warmer temperatures cause
    algae living within the coral to
    be expelled, which brings
    about coral bleaching and
    death to living polyps
Coral Degradation – Natural
   El Nino
Coral Degradation – Natural
   Earthquakes
Coral Degradation- Natural
   Wave action
Coral Degradation – Natural
   Flooding and surface
Coral Degradation – Natural
   Natural Diseases
       Black Band
       White Band
    Coral Degradation Man-made
   Pressure from
    migration and
    intensified uses)
    Coral Degradation Man-made
   Depletion of fish
       Public and private
       Delicacy foods
Coral Degradation Man-made
                  Changes in fish
                   populations may
                   remove the species
                   that control the
                   abundance of other
                   reef organisms
                   (seaweed) thus
                   allowing the spread of
                   “weedy” species
Coral Degradation Man-made
                  Destructive fishing
                   methods, such as
                   dynamite blasting and
                   poisons like cyanide
                   which temporarily
                   stun/paralyze the fish,
                   some fish are killed
                      Corals are also
                       destroyed with these
Coral Degradation Man-made
                  Excessive non-point
                   source pollution, e.g.
                   from agricultural
                   runoff (fertilizers with
                   nitrogen and phosphates)
                   and contamination of
                   aquifers (leaching)
Coral Degradation Man-made
   Ship-based pollution;
    including oil, plastics
    and bilge water
Coral Degradation Man-made
   Mangrove harvesting
    or displacement for
    aqua culture products
Coral Degradation Man-made
                  Increased
                   sedimentation as a
                   result of deforestation
                   and poor land use
                  Increases in aquatic CO2
                   levels creates a lower
                   pH, resulting in carbonic
                   acid (chemistry change in
Coral Degradation Man-made
stresses        Coral and coral sand
                      The limestone in the
                       reef is used as raw
                       material for cement
Coral Degradation – Man-made
                  Unregulated
                  Coastal Development
Coral Degradation Man-made
                  Unplanned tourism
                  including inadequate
                   wasted water
                   treatment and spear
Coral Degradation Man-made

                  Collection of corals
                   and ornamental reef
                  Anchors, when
                   released, crush coral
Coral Degradation Man-made
               Trawling- indiscriminate
                  and large-scale
                  seabed devastation.
               Sea bottom is completely
                  leveled by heavy steel
                  chains and nets.
                     (before and after
Save the Ecosystem
   “If we fail to act, the destruction of these rare and
    important ecosystems will continue unabated,
    threatening one of our world’s most precious
    natural resources. We need to slow the rate of
    global warming, clean up the watersheds that
    drain into coral reef waters, stop over-fishing and
    start an ecosystem-based management approach
    to coral reefs and their fisheries.”
       Dr Terry Done, Australian Institute of Marine
The Use of Artificial Reefs is
hardly a new one
                     For decades people
                      have been creating
                      reefs from tires,
                      sunken ships, old
                      cars, concrete
                      culverts, downed
                      planes and
                      assorted rubble.
Bad News of “old stuff”
   These, however, can often do more harm
    than good- leaching harmful chemicals into
    the ocean or damaging natural reefs when
    currents dislodge them and toss them
    around the sea floor.
New Methods
   Many researchers and scientists have
    pioneered methodologies to help reefs
    survive and recover from natural events
    and anthropogenic damage.
   Most methods are sustainable,
    environmentally safe, and economically
    and biologically feasible.
   All methods have the hope of plankton and
    bacteria forming first. Some chemicals would be
    released upon their decay, which would attract
    more marine life. Plants and polyps would begin
    to form on them and several marine animals
    would lay eggs and also find shelter in these
    “reefs”. This way, the artificial coral reefs would
    feed and breed marine life and over time tend to
    become natural.
Artificial Coral Uses
   Artificial reefs           Habitat for organisms
   Breakwaters                Slow erosion
   Construction material      Reduce wave energy
   Channel marker             Pier protection
Gulf of Mannar Project’s
Artificial Reef Program
                   Specifically designed
                    concrete modules,
                    each weighing over
                    one and a half tons,
                    and coated with anti-
                    corrosive materials.
                   Groups of four in
                    each module
                   110 groups deployed
                    within a 1 sq. mile
Solar Panel Artificial Reef
                  A steel skeletal structure is
                   placed on the seabed with
                   small specimens of living
                   coral attached with wire.
                   When an electric current is
                   applied, hydrogen bubbles
                   start to form. This triggers a
                   chemical reaction in
                   seawater, that in time
                   removes rust, and at the same
                   time coats the steel with a
                   form of calcium carbonate
                   resembling natural reefs,
                   which attracts corals
             Recycled vinyl sheet
              is being formed into a
              honeycomb shape,
              and sunk off the West
              coast of Florida
                        Applying a low
                         voltage electrical
                         current (completely safe for
                         swimmers and marine life) to
                         a submerged
                         conductive structure
                         causes dissolved
                         mineral crystals in
Related terms:
                         seawater to
“Mineral Accretion       precipitate and adhere
Technology”              to that structure.
“Coral Arks”
   To build a Biorock reef, an electrically
    conductive frame, often made from construction
    grade rebar or wire mesh, is welded and
   Then a low voltage direct current is applied using
    an anode, which initiates an electrolytic reaction,
    causing mineral crystals to grow on the structure.
    (power sources can include chargers, windmills, solar
    panels or tidal current generators)
   The result is a composite of limestone and brucite
    with mechanical strength similar to concrete.
“Coral Ark”
                 Next phase, divers
                  transplant coral
                  fragments from other
                  reefs and attach them
                  to the ark’s frame.
                  Coral growth is
                  usually about 3 to 5
                  times faster than
“Mineral Accretion Technology”
   Coral growth varies
    from 1 to more than
    20 centimeters of
    thickness per year,
    depending on the
    local electrical field
   The rusting of the
    submerged pilings has
    been completely halted,
    and in fact previous rust
    has been converted back
    to metallic iron by the
    protective cathodic action
    of the electrical currents.
    As a result, the pilings are
    completely protected from
    corrosion, and are now
    permanent . Only portions
    above the high tide mark
    are not protected and will
    need to be replaced.
Rock Pile Reefs
   Rock piles of rubble
    and broken coral
   Some piles have nets
    to control shifting

             The strategy was
              more for the tourism
              industry (aesthetics).
             Snowflake-like
              ceramic modules
              created in a 3D
              hexagonal shape.
             Designed to be mass-
              produced and
              assembled at a
              restoration site.
             Low-cost, large-scale,
   pH neutral
   Shaded settling plates
    raised of the bottom
   Fluted surfaces to
    generate turbulence
   Microporous surface
    texture for improved
    coral adhesion
The “Reef Doctor’s” Choice of
Artificial Restoration Projects
   Harold Hudson of the
    U.S. National Oceanic
    and Atmosphere
    Administration (NOAA)
    is an expert on coral reef
    restoration commented
    on the new reef balls
    as “amazing”. Watching
    the development of the
    reef in the coming years
    should give even greater
    Reef ball Creator, Todd Barber
   Reef Balls are by
    far the most used
    designed artificial
    reefs in the world
    due to numerous
    special features
    which make them
    ideally suited to
    create aquatic
Reef Ball Foundation’s Mission
   Our mission is to help restore and protect
    our world’s ocean ecosystem through the
    developments and use of natural looking
    and ecologically sound, Reef Balls. Reef
    Balls are state of the art designed artificial
    reefs modules. Reef Ball projects
    emphasize on-going research, public
    education, community involvement, and
    reefs that promote and support natural
    species diversity and population density.
   Concrete, hollow,
    domed shaped
   Weight is
    concentrated in their
    bases, will sit on the
    sea floor without
    moving, even in
    turbulent waters
Reef balls
   Each reef ball has its
    own unique hole
    sizing and placement,
    with the surface
    textured for
    enhancing settlement
    of marine life.
   The units are made
    with marine friendly
    concrete which has
    been combined with
    additives to create a
    structure with a pH
    similar to ocean
   Diagram of reef ball
The balls which create holes
are inflated to different
pressures to vary hole sizes.
Interconnected holes are
possible by inflating the balls
until they touch.
Additional casting techniques
are taught by trainers so users
can customize to fit any need
Reef balls
   Reef balls are
    engineered for
    underwater stability
    and longevity, and
    cause minimal impact
    to the surrounding
Getting modules ready for corals
Different Styles of
    Modular Units all
    with Adapter
    Receptor Plugs built-
    in highlighted by red
   Inflated bladders
    make deployment of
    the reefballs
    relatively easy.
   To sink, simply
    release the air and
    guide the reefball to
    the floor
   Reef balls are
    carefully placed on
    the sea floor.
   Meanwhile,
    volunteers are
    beginning coral
   Corals are attached to
   Fish will begin
    breeding on the new

   Conchs, fish and
    other organisms can
    move under and
    around the reef balls
   Sea grasses as well
    other aquatic life
    move in to complete
    the new reef
   Some areas require
    efforts to restore the
   “mangrove root
    mimic reef balls” will
                             The delicate root mimics are
    be used near the
                             re-enforced with fiberglass
    planted mangroves to     rebar and will be a host to a
    provide an estuary       variety of filter feeders,
    type reef system.        estuary hardy corals,
                             sponges and algae.
                            Why build reefs
Video Brochure              What’s involved
                            Floating deployment
                            Unique hole sizing and
                            Surface texture
                            Stability
                            Marine friendly concrete
                            Standard sizes
                            Leasing and pricing
                            Contractor Services and
   1999 Video Brochure       training
                            Projects
Reef Ball Sizes, Weights, Volume
and number of Holes
                                                          Concrete      Surface
  Style      Width        Height      Weight                                        Hol
                                                          Volume        Area
             6            5                               1.3
                                      4,000-6,000 lbs.                  230 ft2     25-
  Goliath    feet (1.83   feet (1.5                       yard3 (1.19
                                      (1,818-2,727 kg.)                 (21.4 m2)   40
             m)           2 m)                            m3 )
  Super                   4.5 feet    4,000-6,000 lbs     1.3 yard3     190 ft2     22-
             feet (1.
  Ball                    (1.37 m)    (1,818-2,727 kg.)   (1.19 m3)     (17.6 m2)   34
             83 m)
  Ultra      5.5 feet     4.3 feet    3,500-4,500 lbs.    0.9 yard3     150 ft2     22-
  Ball       (1.68 m)     (1.31 m)    (1,591-2,045 kg.)   (0.76 m3)     (13.9 m2)   34

  Reef       6 feet       3.8 feet    3000-4200 lbs.      0.75 yard3    130 ft2     22-
  Ball       (1.83 m)     (1.16 m)    (1364-1,909 kg.)    (0.57 m3)     (12.1 m2)   34

  Pallet     4 feet       2.9 feet    1500-2200 lbs.      0.33 yard3    75 ft2      17-
  Ball       (1.22 m)     (0.88 m)    (682-1,000 kg.)     (0.25 m3)     (7.0 m2)    24

             3 feet       2 feet      375-750 lbs.        0.10 yard3    30 ft2      11-
  Bay Ball
             (0.91 m)     (0.61 m)    (170-341 kg.)       (0.08 m3)     (2.8 m2)    16

  Mini-      2.5 feet     1.75 feet   150-200 lbs.        less than 4
  Bay Ball   (0.76 m)     (0.53 m)    (68-91 kg.)         50 lb. bags

             2 feet       1.5 feet    80-130 lbs.         less than 2
  Lo-Pro                                                                            6-10
             (0.61 m)     (0.46 m)    (36-59 kg.)         50 lb. bags

             1.5 feet     1 foot      30-45 lbs.          less than 1
  Oyster                                                                            6-8
             (0.46 m)     (0.30 m)    (14-20 kg.)         50 lb. bag
                                                         Reef            li
                   Oyst    Lo-    Mini-           Pall           Supe
                                          Bay            or              a
                   er      Pro    Bay             et             r
                                                         Ultra           t

                   $625    $850   $1600           $48    $720    $8,70   ,
Purchase                                  $2525
                   *       *      *               75     0       0       9

Reef Ball
                                                                              Pricing and Leasing
Grant At Cost
Price (You                                                               $
must apply for                                                           5
and be             $385    $530   $1000   $1585   $30    $446    $5,22   ,
accepted by        *       *      *       *       15     0       0       9
RBF to qualify                                                           9
for this price).                                                         4
[Click above
link for Grant

Mold                                                     $2,40
Duplication                                              0
Fee,                                              $18    Reef    $7,80
                   r       $300   $600    $850
Authorized                                        50     $2,80   0
Contractors                                              0
Only                                                     Ultra
Dominican Republic at the Gran
                   Before reef

                   After reef restoration
Reef balls
   There are now
    over 500,000
    reef balls in
    3700 projects
    in 50 countries
    around the
    world, and the
    list grows weed
    by week.
Click the button to see an
interactive map of the world’s
locations participating in reef ball
 Project Updates
                      To learn more about
                       individual projects,
                       click on the link
                       below for details and

Project updates
Reef ball Foundation
   Publicly supported
    non-profit charity that
    functions as an
    environmental NGO.
   Reefballs now and for
    the future:
       Most economically
       pH sensitive
       EPA approved          To learn more, log onto:
       Stability tested.
    Eternal Reefs
   If you are just
    “dying” to get into
    reefballs, try
    logging onto and
    learning more about
    how you can
    become part of an
    Eternal Reef             Cremated remains
                             are mixed into the
   http://www.eternalreef   concrete to create                   the Memorial Reef

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