By Peter Moklany and Chris Kostin article A new study by scientists at the University of Western Australia has found that the energy produced by a solar array can be used to restore and protect marine life.
Key points:The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found that a single solar panel could provide over 50 per cent of the energy required for a typical reef restoration projectIt also found that restoring reef environments requires more than just the power generated by the panelsThe research found that reefs were affected by a combination of factors including the length of time it took to recover, how many fish were caught, and the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.
“Our results provide strong evidence that the natural processes we’ve developed over the last few decades have been effective at restoring reefs,” lead researcher Dr Sarah Danker said.
“We have shown that, by combining the power from a solar battery, solar panels and sediment removal technology, it is possible to restore a reef ecosystem that is completely dependent on fish for food and survival.”
The study was conducted in the Western Australian Coral Reef Sanctuary.
The research involved working with researchers from the Department of Ecology and Fisheries and the Department to restore degraded reef ecosystems.
It involved harvesting a variety of fish species including swordfish, swordfish larval fish and molluscs.
It also involved a variety a number of sediment extraction methods, including the use of a combination technique known as “seam-laying” which uses sediment as a building material.
Dr Dankers team found that by combining these techniques and the sediment collected, the researchers were able to provide over 100 per cent restoration of the reef.
“With our results, we have demonstrated that the key is using natural processes,” Dr Dankest said.”[Seam-Laying] was also an effective tool for reducing the impact of CO 2 on the reef, as it is both the most efficient and cheapest way to remove CO 2 from the environment.”
Dr Danks team hopes to apply the findings to other regions of the world, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea, where they are also using natural techniques.
Dr Kostal and Dr Danks study will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in early 2019.