Larvalbot helps shuttle lab-bred coral larvae back into the reef.
A team of Australian scientists built an underwater robot that can deliver larval coral to the Great Barrier reef, where they hope it will help restore the reef to some of its former glory, before it was ravaged by climate change.
The delivery drone, LarvalBot, is a more hospitable version of the underwater drone that has previously been used to hunt and kill off the coral’s predators — yet another experiment in using robotics to protect and help recover the world’s coral reefs.
Fertilizing The Lawn
The scientists behind the project consider their work similar to fertilizing a lawn, according to Particle. Except instead of grass, it’s working on a beautiful and complex underwater ecosystem.
In order to re-seed the coral reef with larvae, scientists first need to gather that seed in the first place. Back in November, the researchers gathered millions of coral sperm and egg cells for what they called at the time “IVF for coral.”
Planning In Advance
LarvalBot made its first delivery back in December. Now the researchers are planning a second expedition to coincide with the reef’s natural mass spawning period, which will happen in October into November.
When that happens, LarvalBot will dive down, dropping millions of larvae that the researchers hope will be able to take root as brand new coral.
READ MORE: ROBOTS TO THE RESCUE OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF [Particle]
More on the coral reef: To Protect Endangered Coral Reefs, Researchers Need Legal Recourse