New Lego-like method for 3D printing coral reefs could save natural habitats


The researcher further argues that Innovareef formations can be developed into eco-tourism attractions.

“Coral reef tourists who’re not yet qualified divers and may unintentionally damage natural coral reefs, new divers or others who want to study the undersea world, including sea walkers and snorkelers, can dive into Innovareef formations. They’re very lifelike, and a variety of marine species live there. This is an example of marine eco-tourism that’s causing no harm to the sea,” Nantarika added.

The Innovareef parts

Now the team is focused on lowering production costs and adding more details so that the new structures look more like natural reefs.

“For the next generations of Innovareef, we’ll come up with a more specific design for each marine species in the area. For example, giant groups prefer cave-like habitats and so will our Innovareef be,’ Nantarika explained.

She adds that her team is currently working with Chula’s Faculty of Engineering in incorporating nanotechnology for protecting the Innovareef from global warming effects.

“If the sea temperature rises to a certain level that’s harmful to the corals, the nanoparticle coating the Innovareef will automatically activate and release a substance to prevent the corals from dying,” concluded Nantarika.

Previous studies have warned that coral reefs could be extinct by 2100.


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