iNTELLIREEFS IN Sint Maarten
Restoring Coral Reef Biodiversity
IntelliReef structures in Sint Maarten had nearly 100% coverage of biological organisms after just 14 months (November 2018-January 2020). The following video and project phases highlight the success of IntelliReefs in Sint Maarten.
Sint Maarten IntelliReef Project Phases
Phase 1 consisted of deploying the first IntelliReefs prototypes in three different MPA sites off Cole Bay of Sint Maartens. Reef Life Foundation, along with scientists, filmmakers, photographers, creatives, and leaders from the eco-tourism industry assisted the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation with its mission to restore the island’s coral reefs.
Location Depth Latitude Longitude
Mike’s Maze 13 M 17.59.488 063.03.396
Great Bay 3.8 M 18.01.054 063.02.784
The Bridge 15 M 18.01.273 063.06.802
Phase 2 objectives included documenting and analyzing the success of the IntelliReef structures in fostering biodiversity and functioning as a substrate for coral recruits. We found that IntelliReefs provide an incredible amount of surface area for a diversity of life to settle. The Intellireefs supported an increased cover of calcareous species such as crustose coralline algae (CCA) and brooding corals. One of the most important findings was that the IntelliReefs deployed in the Sint Maarten MPA supported almost 100% cover of plant and animal species on all substrates, which was significantly higher than the natural reef.
Read our Scientific Report on how Intellireefs benefit reef biodiversity.
Phase in progress
The next phase will incorporate both material and habitat research. Reef Life Foundation's goal is to support MPAs through a large scale project in the Sint Maarten MPA. The initial deployment will involve an ocean creature dive attraction within the MPA (>30 meters in diameter) made from a combination of the IntelliReef Oceanite mixtures and custom sculpture fabrication. This will, in turn, provide economic and environmental benefits to the area.
Phase in progress
An important outcome from Phase 3 is an eco-tourism business model that supports MPAs and invites local tourism operators, resorts and NGOs to invest and participate in building a world-class dive and snorkel attraction. This will then generate critical revenue for the island and coastal communities while protecting and enhancing the local marine habitat. When complete, the IntelliReefs dive reefs will enable tourists to participate in planting coral fragments grown in nurseries. The images to the left highlight the exciting process in which tourists and MPA visitors will participate: