How did this project start?

Coral reefs act as natural submerged breakwaters dissipating wave energy through wave breaking and friction. However, recent  coral reef declines have resulted in high coral mortality and loss of topography and associated losses in the protective services healthy coral reefs provide to shorelines. The University of Miami (UM) Laboratory for INtegrative Knowledge (U-LINK) project, entitled “Identifying, prioritizing, and validating green infrastructure approaches to enhance coastal resilience” aims to enhance shoreline protection against wave action and storm surge using hybrid artificial coral reefs strategically designed, built, and deployed to maximize shoreline protection. The project includes in-situ ecological studies and laboratory testing of hybrid coral reefs that combine grey (cement) and green (corals) components in the SUrge STructure Atmosphere INteraction (SUSTAIN) Facility, as well as the implementation of a data-driven test bed offshore of North Beach Oceanside Park, Miami Beach, Florida.

Why is this project so important?

In the state of Florida, coral reefs provide $675 million dollars in annual benefits towards the local economy. However, with climate change, coral reefs are degrading and to survive the change in conditions, human intervention is required to ensure their longevity.