This interview was conducted by Selva Ozelli
Intellireefs is the only artificial reef company approved by UNESCO in the world. What was the vision in establishing this company?
Taking our expertise in industrial-scale manufacturing and nanomaterial science, we can customize ocean habitats for site, species, and functionality from laboratory research to a million miles of ocean floor habitat. Our marine substrate also can be used in small & large-scale aquariums. Marine restoration is our specialty, and we aim to spread the importance of ocean science across the globe.
a. UN Partnership Page: https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/reef-life-foundation-intellireefs-biomimicking-coral-habitats
b. Company History: (https://www.intellireefs.com/our-story)
Tell us about your organizations initiatives/projects?
We currently have 2 main project locations detailed below.
1. Sint Maarten, the Caribbean:
a. In November 2018, we deployed 60 IntelliReef block units underwater that were assembled into 3 artificial reefs near Philipsburg, Sint Maarten as part of a pilot study. The Reef Life Team identified Sint Maarten as an ideal location for an IntelliReef prototype structure, due to the need to restore and protect rapidly deteriorating marine biodiversity and structural complexity of island reef systems. IntelliReefs structures in Sint Maarten had nearly 100% coverage of biological organisms after just 14 months (November 2018-January 2020). (Coral focused)
b. For extensive information on the phases of this project click here: https://www.intellireefs.com/sint-maarten
c. UN-endorsed project details: https://www.intellireefs.com/post/intellireefs-ocean-floor-restoration
d. Youtube video on project: https://youtu.be/qAnfdlfz2vE
2. Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada:
a. After months of preparation, IntelliReefs successfully deployed the first ReefShip modules in Dartmouth Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada. In total, we deployed 16 ReefShip Modules. The aim of this large scale artificial reef deployment is to ascertain the efficacy and impact of Oceanite for attracting and growing a healthy kelp community. This will be the flagship cold water, or "temperate ecosystem" project for IntelliReefs. The aim of this large scale artificial reef deployment in Dartmouth Cove is to ascertain the efficacy and impact of Oceanite for kelp forest, oyster bed, and near-shore fisheries restoration. This project follows the recent announcement of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for sustainable development's endorsement of IntelliReefs' Decade Action in a letter from the Executive Secretary of IOC-UNESCO. (Kelp focused)
b. Blog Post on Deployment: https://www.intellireefs.com/post/kelp-research-module-deployment
c. Youtube video on project: https://youtu.be/Whso3I2PoiY
What partnerships has your organization developed?
1. Intellireefs has forged invaluable partnerships with leading scientific and research organizations including Canadian kelp & coral reef scientists.
a. COVE - Canada https://coveocean.com/news/
i. Our project director, Tara Pierce, is moving to the Netherlands, and we will have our Reef Life Foundation office there early 2024.
c. The Nature Foundation - 5 year relationship (St. Maarten, the Caribbean) https://naturefoundationsxm.org/?utm_source=gmb
i. Sponge study with Dr. M.C. Diaz of the Smithsonian https://www.intellireefs.com/post/no-free-lunch
d. Earth Law Center https://www.earthlawcenter.org/coral-reefs-initiative
e. GLISPA partnership https://www.glispa.org/
Tell us about your organization's World Oceans Day activities in partnership with the United Nations and Oceanic Global.
In conjunction with the United Nations and Oceanic Global, Intellireefs orchestrates impactful World Oceans Day activities. One prominent endeavor involves our collaboration on the "Orcas & Reefs" digital exhibition, which showcases the intricate connection between orcas, reefs, and climate change. This captivating exhibition, featuring digital art, comprehensive write-ups, and stunning photographs, will be prominently featured during London Climate Action Week, New York Climate Week, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in UAE as part of the Global Resilience Partnership's platform.
a. Orcas & Reefs by Selva Ozelli: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjQHxuXXiEw
b. Here is an article about Orcas & Reefs: https://www.trvst.world/environment/world-oceans-day-orcas-reefs/
c. A video of Turkish press coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuvWzTQi6l4
d. This art show will be part of London Climate Action Week, New York Climate Week, United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
Anything else you would like to add.
1. We have a non-profit foundation called Reef Life Foundation. IntelliReefs has mandated that 8% of our profits from manufacturing will go to donating Oceanite modules to global projects for small island developing nations. https://www.reeflifefoundation.org/. Our mission includes SDG5, education for women and girls, and the scholarships we will be giving to women who want to study marine biology, and include them in ocean projects globally where we can.
a. We create ocean conscious jewelry, handcasted from bronze, silver, & copper. Our jewelry is NOT PLASTIC, and is instead made of NATURAL MINERAL STONES. All purchases go to our restoration projects costs.
2. We are launching a new aquariums division where small IntelliReefs units can be purchased for research and conservation of species. Our new website will also cater to individual saltwater aquarium hobbyists, and bulk large-scale aquariums.
a. Oceanite designs: https://www.intellireefs.com/copy-of-portfolio
How can people reach your organization?
1. We are eager to collaborate with others, so please feel really good about contacting us for something we call a 'blog swap' to help both organizations get more coverage for their important conservation work.
2. To connect with Intellireefs and join our mission, please visit our comprehensive website at www.intellireefs.com. We welcome inquiries, partnerships, and collaborations from individuals and organizations who share our passion for coral reef conservation and marine habitat preservation. Together, let us make a profound difference in the future of our oceans.
1. Email [email protected] for projects, shipping, aquarium through industrial cast stone, and science inquiries.
2. Email [email protected] for donations, purchases of small units, volunteering, helping us promote your coral & kelp restoration projects.
4. Linktrees with social media, etc.