“Coral reef conservation using planned artificial reefs: Is deploying artificial reefs good for the environment?”

Friday 10 May 2013, 3-4 pm

Environment 1_N55_Room 1.07, Griffith University, Nathan Campus

Speaker: Dr Omer Polak, Ben-Gurion University, Dept. of Life Sciences, Israel; Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences, Eilat, Israel


In recent years coral reef degradation was noted in different parts of the world, partly owing to direct use by ecotourism. As a result, active restoration efforts are starting to be developed. One of these restoration efforts is the use of artificial reefs as surrogate diving sites instead of natural reefs. The talk will cover the ecological consequences of inserting an artificial reef in different locations, the ability of coral transplantation on artificial reefs to increase fish biodiversity and increase divers’ attraction, and the capability of small artificial reefs to divert divers from nearby natural reefs. It was found that the fish community is dependent on artificial reef location; coral transplantation on artificial reefs was successful in increasing fish species richness, but did not change fish species composition; corals were greatly affected by diver presence and ultimately, divers were marginally able to be diverted from natural to artificial reefs. The talk will refine the pros and cons of using artificial reefs as an environmental aid for reef conservation.

Speaker: Dr Omer Polak is a marine biologist who now resides in Brisbane. His masters research (under the supervision of Profs. Yossi Loya and Yehuda Benayahu, both leading Red Sea coral reef biologists) involved investigating the ecological requirement and reproductive attributes of the zoanthid Palythoa tuberculosa in the Red Sea. Omer later concurrently worked in Dr. Moshe Kiflawi’s fish larval ecology lab and Dr. Nadav Shashar’s fish vision lab. He completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Nadav Shashar investigating artificial reef use for conservation purposes.

Please direct any further enquiries to the Nathan Seminar Co-ordinator,

For more information on the Australian Rivers Institute visit

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