DARPA Funds Partly Natural, Partly Man-Made Coral Reef
The U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a team, led by the University of Hawaii (UH), a $25 million contract to develop a hybrid coral reef comprising natural coral and man-made structures that will protect the coastline from flooding, erosion and storms and provide habitat for corals and other reef life.
UH’s project, Rapid Resilient Reefs for Coastal Defense (R3D), is one of only three selected by DARPA nationwide. UH’s team partners include Makai Ocean Engineering, UC San Diego and Florida Atlantic University.
R3D is the only project being developed in the Pacific Ocean, with the other project teams performing in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Coast. The project will not only protect coastlines from erosion but also promote coral and other marine growth onto the artificial reef, with innovative techniques.
As a subcontractor to UH on this project, Makai Ocean Engineering will lead the system construction and deployment. The system will be installed on the coast of Oahu, led by Makai, with support from other local Hawaii marine contractors. The project will run for five years, with a phased installation. The team will develop and deploy reef structures that mimic the formation of natural fringing reef.