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DARPA Taps Research Teams to Build Hybrid Reef-Mimicking Structures

1 min read

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will collaborate with university-based research teams to develop storm mitigation technologies to protect civilian and Department of Defense personnel and infrastructure from coastal flooding, erosion and storm surges.

DARPA said Wednesday three teams from the Rutgers University, University of Hawaii and University of Miami will work on structures for reefs in the Gulf Coast, Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii and Atlantic Ocean, respectively.

Efforts will be done under the agency’s Reefense program, which was aimed at building hybrid biological reef-mimicking structures that are both self-healing and engineered to endure environment conditions.

“As part of this program, performers will employ recent innovations in materials science, hydrodynamic modeling and adaptive biology to optimize these structures for responding to a changing environment,” stated Catherine Campbell, Reefense program manager.

The custom wave-attenuating base structures are expected to result in calcareous reef organism settlement and growth while native non-reef building organisms are eyed for maintaining the system. In addition, adaptive biology will also be used to boost the resilience of coral and oyster against disease and temperature stress.

“These protective structures aim to provide immediate protection, facilitate the growth of natural calcareous organisms, and enable rapid biological adaptation of the coral and oysters already present in the water to the new reef structure in a matter of months to years,” added Campbell.

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