An Idea From Arizona Aims to Save the World's Coral Reefs

The white tips of this coral are evidence of coral bleaching, which occurs when the surrounding water gets too warm. | Courtesy of Oregon State University (via Flickr)

A Tucson-based engineer thinks he may have a solution to an environmental issue affecting coral reefs around the world.

Mohammad "Mo" Ehsani is a professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Arizona. He's also the president of QuakeWrap, a company that uses fiber-reinforced polymers to repair infrastructure.

As The Arizona Republic reported recently, Ehsani invented InfinitPipe, a technology that allows a pipe of any length to be manufactured on site, lowering transportation and maintenance costs. He believes the technology could be applied to the problem of coral bleaching, which is affecting Australia's Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs.

Coral bleaching occurs when the water around the coral gets too warm. When that happens, the coral expels the algae living in it, causing the coral to lose its trademark vibrant colors and turn white.

Ehsani's idea is to install a pipe that would direct cooler water from farther down in the ocean up to the area of the reef where coral lives. A pump would also be installed and would be powered via wave motion, the Republic reported.

Ehsani now is hoping to get the attention of governments or environmental organizations interested in providing funding and testing the idea.

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