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Coral Rubble Stabilisation

Reef Magic was the first organisation in Australia to implement and scientifically trial the use of Mars Reef Stars to stabilise Coral Rubble Fields on the Great Barrier Reef. Currently Reef Magic has installed 348 Reef Stars with 5,115 coral fragments of opportunity. These are coral fragments that are not attached to the bottom and are prone to damage from high wave energy. We have identified and attached 55 different species of coral which represent a diversity of coral growth forms and looks like a natural coral reef. After the first installation of Reef Stars, we have seen a 50% increase in coral cover.ย 

Reef Stars

The chocolate bar company Mars pioneered the Reef Stars and developed this technology over 10 years in Sulawesi Indonesia to restore reefs damaged by dynamite fishing. This drastic form of fishing reduces live coral to pieces of dead loose coral fragments, commonly known as coral rubble beds. The close passing of severe Tropical Cyclones to coral reefs can produce similar devastation. Coral rubble is an unstable substrate for new baby coral to grow and survive and therefore recover very slowly.

MARS Reef Star Installation
Coral Rubble Stabilisation Feb 2022

MARRS Reef Stars after installation (left) in June 2020 and after 18 months (right) in February 2022. Coral cover in this area has increased 50% since installation.

Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System

The Mars Assisted Reef Restoration system (MARRS) interlocks the Reef Stars (modular hexagonal steel structures together and creates a stable habitat for coral fragments to adhere to and grow quickly. After the first installation of Reef Stars, we have seen a 50% increase in coral cover in 18 months. While experiencing the Glass Bottom Boat tours today have a look at this excellent site stewardship initiative.

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