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15 cool ways scientists are trying to protect coral

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Using 3D printing to create new coral reefs

Following in the footsteps of his ancestors, ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau has been working with 3D printing to create, expand and restore coral reefs in a partnership with the Caribbean island of Bonaire. 

According to Fabien, the advantages of 3D printing for reefs include the reduction of plastic and chemical materials currently used for coral restoration, the ability to blend models into the environment more easily  and accurately mimicking coral to attract coral polyps and other marine life.

Short-term success with the same technology has been documented in Monaco and several Persian Gulf states, though long-term data is not yet available.

In the past, 3D printing technology has been successfully used to monitor coral reefs and to find out what sizes, colours and textures best attract free-floating coral polyps.

Earlier this year, Fabien launched the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center, which will focus on raising awareness, creating educational material and running restoration programs for sea turtles and coral reefs.

Fabien's grandfather, the prolific explorer and underwater documentarian Jacques Cousteau, is in our edit of the most iconic photos of life at sea, pictured in 1957 at the Port of Marseille.

Pictures courtesy of Instagram.com / Fabien Cousteau OLC (left), Facebook.com / Fabien Cousteau OLC (top right) / Fabien Cousteau (bottom right)

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