Dying Coral Zapped Back to Life

'Bio'Rock' revives bleached Bali coral
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2007 9:52 AM CST
Members of Reef Gardeners, local villagers trained in coral reef maintenance, inspect solar panels used to feed electricity to an underwater metal structures to grow coral reef in Pemuteran bay, Bali,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Electrified metal structures submerged off the coast of Bali are reviving dying coral reefs, the AP reports. Low-voltage electricity pulses through cables feeding the structures, spurring pieces of damaged coral attached to them back to health. Scientist Thomas Goreau, co-creator of the 'Bio-Rock' project, is presenting his research at the climate change conference on the other side of the island.

Locals say the project has worked wonders on the coral, weakened by rising temperatures, dynamite fishing, and cyanide poisoning. "When they get the juice, they are not as stressed," said one supporter. But there's doubt about how widely the method can be used; it has yet to attract major funding. "The scale is enormous and the cost is prohibitive," a reef specialist commented.