This article has been reviewed according to Science X's editorial process and policies. Editors have highlighted the following attributes while ensuring the content's credibility:

fact-checked

trusted source

proofread

Artificial reefs help preserve coral reefs by shifting divers away from the natural ones, says study

Artificial reefs help preserve coral reefs by shifting divers away from the natural ones, according to study
Graphical Abstract. Credit: Oceans (2024). DOI: 10.3390/oceans5010005

Divers are essentially tourists who love coral reefs and invest a lot of time and effort in watching them. Unfortunately, divers also cause damage to corals, often unintentionally, by disturbing and resuspending sand, touching them, hitting them with their equipment, and scaring fish away. Artificial reefs have been proposed as a means of diverting diving pressure from the natural reef to alternative sites, thus preserving both dive tourism and the coral reef.

The problem was noticed years ago in Eilat, and, as a result, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, Prof. Nadav Shashar of Ben-Gurion University's Marine Biology and Biotechnology Program and the OBS company, an artificial reef was established there on the border of the nature reserve enclosing the natural coral reefs.

The artificial reef was established in 2006, and in 2007, corals, which were grown in a special coral nursery, were planted on it. Since then, it has attracted many species of reef fish and other invertebrates that are difficult to find on the natural reef.

The new long-term study, just published in Oceans, tracked the movement of dives before and after the placement of the reef. Before its installation, the introductory diving instructors had to lead their trainees into the reserve to enjoy the dive. However, afterward, it became a magnet for , especially guided dives and introductory dives.

Moreover, introductory dives to the natural in the reserve have almost completely ceased.

What's more, the reef remains as attractive as ever 15 years after its installation, thus deciding the question of whether an artificial site would be attractive even after it was no longer a novelty.

More information: Nadav Shashar et al, Artificial Reef Deployment Reduces Diving Pressure from Natural Reefsā€”The Case of Introductory Dives in Eilat, Red Sea, Oceans (2024). DOI: 10.3390/oceans5010005

Citation: Artificial reefs help preserve coral reefs by shifting divers away from the natural ones, says study (2024, February 20) retrieved 19 April 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-artificial-reefs-coral-shifting-divers.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Man-made reefs: A compelling diving alternative

6 shares

Feedback to editors