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  1. ITV Report

Welsh designer using 3D printed coral to save reefs

A Welsh nature lover is on a mission to save coral reefs by planting a 3D print of the underwater wonder among the waters.

Credit: Walesnews/PA

Jessica Gregory, 23, has created a printed copy of a coral skeleton to mimic the endangered reefs.

And she hopes her 3D print will trick young corals into growing around it in the sea.

Corals are tiny animals that group together and have a set of tentacles around a mouth opening.

They can catch small fish in marine water using stinging cells on their tentacles.

But after years of pollution and climate change, existing coral reefs could soon vanish completely.

Coral is a complex and fragile organism.

It is very important to humanity as well as the planet - coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

But, due to human factors such as pollution, climate change and sedimentation, 30 per cent of the existing reefs could vanish in the next 30 years.

This is in addition to the vast amount of reefs which have already been lost.

Coralise is a project which aims to irradiate juvenile coral mortality, which stands at 99 per cent. There is a huge problem with coral dying.

– Jessica Gregory
Bleached branching coral in the Great Barrier Reef. Above-average sea water temperatures caused by global warming have been identified as a leading cause for coral bleaching worldwide. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Jessica, from Rhiwderin, Newport, is currently studying for a double masters in global innovation design at both Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art.

She has teamed up with ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau for the project.

The pattern on the product replicates the corallite structures created as coral grows its skeleton, protecting juveniles in developmental stages.

Coralise is currently being tested but it seems like the coral will survive.

I have been told the project could really help.

I have always been interested in nature and I am also interested in arts – the course allows me to combine the two.

My focus is on designing using nature for nature, helping with environmental issues.

– Fabien Cousteau