James Cervino, a professor in the Department of Biology and Health Sciences at Pace University, and Thomas Goreau, president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, have created a solar-powered reef bed to grow oysters.
Oysters need minerals, like limestone, to grow. The solar panels collect sunlight to generate low voltage current. The current travels along spiral shaped metal strips nailed along piers close to shore. The electricity causes a chemical reaction in the seawater as the tide moves in and out. The limestone and other minerals that subsequently build up along the reef beds are helping oysters re-establish habitat in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the article in the Christian Science Monitor, oysters once flourished along the Atlantic Coast. Those reefs helped filter and cleanse the water. Today, reefs along the Atlantic Coast are pretty decimated from pollution and disease. Cervino hopes to grow oysters not to farm them, but rather to slowly rebuild and restore habitat.
Thus far, Cervino’s and Goreau’s experiment indicates that the low voltage current works. Oysters in a control site away from the electrified metal spirals have died.
Cervino’s approach may help other areas along the Atlantic Coast. Traditional restoration and replanting efforts have had limited success. Solar electricity may turn the tide.