Monday, May 27, 2024

Reefs Made From Sunken Trees Can Help Kickstart Sea Life in Threatened Waters


Researchers have found that culled fruit trees sunk into the sea are a cheap and effective way to recreate reefs and boost the local diversity and abundance of marine life.

Reefs, whether natural or man-made, are hotspots of marine biodiversity. But especially in soft-bottomed seas, reefs have now become scarce because many hard substrates have been removed due to overfishing of shellfish, dredging, trawling and deep-sea mining.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, was done in the Wadden Sea off the coast of the Netherlands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest tidal flats system in the world.

According to Jon Dickson, the study’s lead author and a PhD candidate at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research:

“Here we show that native marine biodiversity can be restored in a highly degraded ecosystem like the Dutch Wadden Sea by using trees as reefs.

“Before humans domesticated the landscape with agriculture, logging, and river controls, trees fell into rivers in large numbers and were washed out to sea. We know that such sunken wood has been present in marine ecosystems since the Jurassic, providing a home, shelter, and food for marine animals.”

Check out the research here.

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.