Prelims 2022

Q. “Biorock technology” is talked about in which one of the following situations?

a) Restoration of damaged coral reefs
b) Development of building materials using plant residues
c) Identification of areas for exploration/extraction of shale gas
d) Providing salt licks for wild animals in forests/protected areas

Correct Answer: a) Restoration of damaged coral reefs

Question from UPSC Prelims 2022 GS Paper

Explanation : 

Biorock Technology: A Lifeline for Coral Reefs

Biorock technology, also known as mineral accretion technology, is a method used for the restoration of damaged coral reefs. This innovative approach involves the use of a low-voltage electrical current passed through seawater to promote the precipitation of minerals, such as calcium carbonate, which are essential for coral growth.

How Biorock Technology Works

The process works as follows:

1. A metal structure, often made of steel, is placed underwater in the vicinity of a damaged coral reef.

2. A safe, low-voltage direct current is applied to the structure, typically sourced from solar panels, wind turbines, or sometimes from an onshore power supply.

3. The electrical current causes minerals dissolved in seawater, particularly calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide, to precipitate onto the structure. This forms a hard, limestone-like coating.

4. The accreted mineral substrate serves as an ideal base for coral larvae to settle and grow. Additionally, the electric field is believed to stimulate faster growth and stronger resilience in corals.

5. Over time, the electrified structure becomes encrusted with new coral growth, which attracts other marine life and helps to rebuild the ecosystem.

Biorock technology has been used in various parts of the world to help restore coral reefs that have been damaged by factors such as climate change, pollution, overfishing, and destructive fishing practices. The technology not only helps to speed up coral growth but also enhances the survival rate of corals under stress from rising sea temperatures and acidification.

The other options listed, such as the development of building materials using plant residues, identification of areas for exploration/extraction of shale gas, and providing salt licks for wild animals, are unrelated to Biorock technology. Therefore, the correct answer in the context provided is the restoration of damaged coral reefs.

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