Artificial Reef at Long Bay
An artificial reef made from 'reef balls', is being
built at the Long Bay Marine Reserve by staff and students from the
Earth and Oceanic Sciences
Research Centre (EOS) at AUT.
John Buckeridge, the Director of EOS, says the University has
been given resource consent by the Auckland Regional Council to
build the reef. The reef will become an education resource for
schools, a recreation site for snorkellers and divers and a home for
many species of marine life.
The team will create an artificial reef by using reef balls - a
concept developed by an American diver and since used in over a
thousand projects worldwide. The balls are used to create habitats
for fish and other marine species.
The project leader is Jonathan Jaffrey, a physics and
science teacher at Long Bay College, who is the Royal Society
Teaching Fellow at EOS for 2001.
"This is an example of affirmative action for the marine
environment. What we are hoping to do is enhance the biodiversity in
the bay and counteract some of the damage that has been done in the
"This is the first time reef balls have been used to create an
artificial reef in New Zealand, but if we are successful it
hopefully won't be the last," Mr Jaffrey says.
The reef balls are made of concrete and are designed to mimic
natural reef systems. A fibreglass mold is made of the balls and
then concrete is poured into the mold. The balls have holes in them
so that the energy from waves does not cause damage or movement.
Once made and aged, the balls are floated with internal bladders, to
the reef site and then lowered to the sea floor by deflating the
bladders. The balls are then guided into place and the bladders
At present the balls are being constructed using a special
formulation of concrete. The team, however, want to research the
possibility of using ordinary waste concrete.
"It is my dream that waste concrete from around the country can
be used for a good purpose like this. If our research shows we can
use ordinary or waste concrete without harming the environment then
reef balls would become a feasible option offshore," Mr Jaffrey
AUT students Trent Taylor and Claire Barnaby and two exchange
students from Germany - Marco Peter and Sebastian Otto - will be
assisting Mr Jaffrey on the project. The team has already begun
testing and building the reef balls. About 25 balls will be used in
the Long Bay Marine Reserve.
For further information about other reef ball projects worldwide
check out http://www.reefball.com/.