Coral Reef Restoration using Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)
Amy Wagoner Johnson
Professor Wagoner Johnson will apply additive manufacturing (i.e., 3D printing) to the global environmental challenge of coral reef restoration. The need for novel approaches to coral reef restoration is clear, as is the urgency in the application of the approaches.
This research focuses on new ways to enhance coral reef restoration using techniques that are currently used in bone tissue engineering. Professor Wagoner Johnson will produce 3D-printed, engineered substrates with sub-millimeter features that will enhance and accelerate coral polyp reproduction and growth. This project is not only a new application for additive manufacturing, but it is also a new approach in coral reef restoration research. The influence of substrate properties such as composition, porosity and topography on the reproduction, growth, and survival of coral is a new and important area of coral reef research given their precipitous decline in the past 30 years.
Image: Coral bleaching off Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Credit: AFP/Getty Images