3D Printed Terra Cotta Tiles Are Helping Restore Coral Habitat

The ocean’s corals are in trouble, and climate change is the main culprit. As oceans warm and become more acidic, the delicate reefs and corals bleach and die. This not only affects the coral, but the millions of other fish and ocean species that rely on these habitats.

The Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have devised a clever solution to help reverse some of the coral die off. Using 3D printed terra cotta, the team was able to create large, interlocking tiles, printed with a unique pattern that mimics some of the natural coral growth.

The micro texture of the terra cotta, as well as its ocean-safe makeup, make it a uniquely suited medium for scientists to employ.

It’s a small but smart step to try to help coral rebound and become more resilient in face of climate change. Read more on FastCo Design:


The team placed the reef tiles seeded with coral fragments over about a 430-square-foot area across three sites within Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park in Hong Kong this past July. Researchers will monitor coral growth on the tiles over the next two years.