Catalyst Fund, Network News

Catalyst: Coral ROVtech

Project Name: Protecting Coral Reefs to promote environmental resilience
Location: Bristol, UK


In the last 30 years, over half of the world’s coral reefs have been lost. Rising ocean temperatures, over-fishing, pollution and agricultural run-off are destroying reefs at a rapid pace. Though coral reefs support the livelihoods of half a billion people, and reefs are home to over a quarter of all marine species. current means to measure reef degradation are both expensive and inaccessible to many communities. There is a great  need for rapid, cost-efficient, and non-destructive ways to assess the health of coral reefs.

Solution: Through ROV (remote operated vehicles) technology, Coral ROVtech will be able to assess the health of coral reefs rapidly, using a non destructive, low-cost, method. This system will aid researchers, academics, and scientists  to safeguard marine resources, allowing them to consistently monitor reefs using remote imaging that can identify abnormal pigmentation and diseased coral.

What makes this approach different? While the ability to detect fluorescence – an indicator of compromised coral tissue – is established best-practice, using  self contained units that are operated remotely offers exciting opportunities in the field. These low-cost ROVs do not require highly trained and specialised professionals to operate, nor do they require vast amounts of capital to own and operate. They will also enable larger, less accessible areas of coral to be assessed in traditionally under resourced parts of the world.