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Title:An uncommon, yet crucial collaboration between coral reef restoration efforts and mechanical engineering with a biomaterials focus
Author(s):Tholen, Haley
Subject(s):Engineering Mechanics
Abstract:Maybe it is hard to tell, but despite the informal clothing, messy hair, and limited lab space, you are looking at some of the Caribbean's finest scientists. The time is about 2:00 AM, a few hours after we surfaced from a night dive along the shores of Curacao. Although we were diving all over the island, we had one goal: to collect gametes from spawning corals. The lab, built in 1955, is humid, compact, and uncomfortable, but all that matters to us is that 100% of the gametes evolve into coral larvae. Other than the nonstop, intense lab work of monitoring the environment and condition of the larvae, my primary responsibility is to develop an optimal substrate for settlement. Key factors include: shape, texture, material composition, and feature characteristics. The idea is to recover reefs using engineering techniques by improving settlement and survival rates of baby corals. Extensive research and experimentation has been done on coral reef restoration, but Coral Engineering is a new field, headed by our lab at UIUC. Our research is relevant, urgent, and original; with our collaboration between marine biologists and engineers, we are pioneering ways to recover the reefs before it is too late.
Issue Date:2019
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Haley Tholen
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-05-10

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