Image of the Day: Tiny Robots to Repair the Reefs

Credit: NOAA's National Ocean Service/flickr

In the past, it has been the hands of skilled scuba divers that were responsible for reattaching the fragments of coral broken off during hurricanes or from bottom-trawling fishing. And while this method has proven to be effective, there is only so much time a diver can spend underwater and the process proves lengthy.

But according to, thanks to researchers in Scotland who are developing underwater microrobots, more reefs may soon be repaired. That comes as welcome news in light of how many coral reefs and other calcifying organisms are in such despair from warming temperatures and increasing ocean acidity.

The vision for the so-called “coralbots” is to deploy them in swarms, in lieu of a diver, to piece together the damaged reef more efficiently. They will be trained to distinguish the fragmented corals from other benthic objects and follow simple instructions for re-cementing the reef back together.