4 Mins Read
Life below water is a vital planetary resource that we depend on for everything from absorbing nearly a third of carbon dioxide produced by humans, to supporting the very coastal ecosystems that act as buffers against natural disasters and providing livelihoods for over three billion people in the world. But thanks to human activities that degrade the natural environment, plastic pollution, ocean acidification and marine biodiversity loss has reached alarming levels. Now, startup companies and nonprofit organisations are coming up with solutions in a bid to reverse some of the damage we’ve done and developing innovative ways to protect our precious waters and their living inhabitants.
Below, we take a look at some of the most exciting young “ocean innovators” who have recently accepted into UpLink, the open digital platform launched by the World Economic Forum (WEF) aimed at driving sustainable progress.
1. Arc Marine
Founding date: 2015
Founders: Tom Birbeck & James Doddrell
Headquarters: Devon, United Kingdom
Arc Marine has designed innovative “reef cubes” that can help boost large-scale coral restoration projects. Their patented solution enables the creation of reef structures anywhere in the world, allowing “anyone from scientists to remote fishers can contribute to rebuilding reef systems”.
Founding date: 2019
Founder: Stephen Rodan
Headquarters: Washington D.C., United States
CHARM is a coral farming robot developed using scientific research and computer automation to help reduce costs and save time to grow large-scale coral colonies. It has been created by the partnering nonprofits Beyond Coral Foundation, based in the U.S., and Beyond Coral México, who have made it their mission to protect coastal ecosystems.
3. Plant A Million Corals
Founding date: 2019
Founder: David Vaughan
Headquarters: Summerland Key, Florida, United States
Plant A Million Corals has come up with cost-efficient and adaptable coral restoration units that can be deployed to support coral growth and also empower communities to participate actively in protecting life under water. Using micro-fragmentation processes, the planting projects allow for rapid coral growth and healing at rates that are around 25 to 40-times faster than they would naturally occur, making it possible to save and recover lost reefs.
4. Cascadia Seaweed
Founding date: 2019
Founders: William T. Collins, Mike Williamson, Tony Ethier
Headquarters: Sidney, British Columbia, Canada
Cascadia Seaweed recently shifted its strategic direction from being an ingredients supplier to a human food producer, manufacturing delicious and sustainable plant-based food products out of seaweed. Their goal is to provide nutritious vegan foods while promoting climate action, ocean regeneration and economic resiliency for Indigenous communities through seaweed cultivation.
5. SharkSafe Barrier
Founding date: 2014
Founders: Michael Rutzen, Sara Andreotti, Conrad Matthee, Anita Nel, Laurie Barwell
Headquarters: Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
SharkSafe Barrier is a solution that successfully biomimics the visual look of a kelp forest, combining it with permanent magnetic stimuli to form an eco-friendly barrier that deters shark species from passing through in order to protect humans from sharks without harming our precious marine life.
6. Australian Seaweed Institute
Founding date: 2018
Founder: Jo Kelly
Headquarters: Teneriffe, Queensland, Australia
The Australian Seaweed Institute is developing a seaweed biofilter technology to conserve the Great Barrier Reef. They have come up with a network of seaweed biofilters that can be harvested for applications in a variety of products such as biofertiliser, and hope that they can drive a sustainable and climate-positive seaweed industry in Australia.
Lead image courtesy of Dreamstime.