See Inside Scientific American Volume 308, Issue 2

Patent Watch: System and Method for Aquaculture of Marine Life Forms


System and method for aquaculture of marine life-forms: Live corals make a stunning addition to marine aquariums, but harvesting mature coral from the wild threatens rare reef ecosystems. Coral cultivation or aquaculture could help, especially in the U.S., where hobbyists buy approximately 80 percent of the live coral sold in the world. The challenges to culturing corals include generating the kind of multidirectional, strong currents created by waves and tides, which are necessary for reef organisms to thrive. Karen Spartz, who owns an aquaculture business in Indiana, came up with a solution.

Patent no. 8,267,045 describes a system that mimics a marine environment through water chemistry, temperature and the use of natural light to grow a host of organisms, among them sea stars, anemones, fish and corals. Many of these techniques are common solutions in the aquaculture business, but Spartz added a large rotating tray. The wheel-shaped tray is buoyed by floats and balanced by the distribution of individual domesticated corals. A single pump moves water through a refugium—a subtank separated from, but sharing water with, the main tank—containing macro­algae that filter and clean the water. Well-placed outlets funnel the water back to the main tank and spin the tray, giving riding organisms a constant current. “The corals like turbulence,” she says.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article