LIFE Lophelia

Method development for cold-water coral reef habitat restoration (with implementation) in Kosterfjord-Väderöfjord, Sweden

Method development for cold-water coral reef habitat restoration with implementation in Kosterfjord-Väderöfjord, Sweden

On the Swedish west coast, in the Kosterfjord-Väderöfjord area we have remains of reefs of the scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa. In the LIFE Lophelia project we develop artificial reefs, that through their surface composition and shape will facilitate larval settlement. We will design and produce artificial reef structures, and then place them in the sea, near the remaining Lophelia reefs. The aim is to give the existing corals better conditions to spread and dead areas to be re-colonised.

The aim is also to design the artificial reefs so that they can be mass produced, and to restore the habitat in the fjord at a scale with potential to make a true difference. If successful, this restoration could lead to an increase of fish and other fauna that thrive in the reef habitat.

The coral, Lophelia pertusa, is a reef-building cold water coral that forms spectacular ecosystems. More than 1,300 different species have been observed in these coral reefs. It is just as impressive species richness as in tropical coral reefs. They need elevated and sediment free surfaces to grow on, and the larvae likes small crevices and complex surface textures to hide in when they settle.

In the past there were more coral reefs both in Sweden and in the rest of Europe. Today there are only two small living coral reefs in Sweden. With the LIFE Lophelia project we can restore the beautiful and valuable coral reefs in the Natura 2000 area of Kosterfjord-Väderöfjord. If successful, this can lead to an increase of fish and other fauna that thrive in the reef habitat.


Medarbetare Life Lophelia

Concrete stars to save Sweden’s coral reefs

Now the concrete reefs are being launched to save Sweden’s coral reefs. 132 star-shaped reef structures will be placed in six locations in the Koster and Väderö fjords. The goal is for small coral larvae to find their way there and start building new living reefs.

Bildcollage av laboratoriebilder.

Spawn to settling in lab

We have finished up another season of coral spawning (see video below) and experiments with larvae. The larvae have given us a hint on what type of materials and topographies they like so we know what the artificial reefs should

45 grams of sediment a day keeps the doctor away?

Year 2022 was busy for the environmental data collection in the project. Three full field campaigns were completed, where instruments were left out at the restoration sites to gather data for a duration of at least 2 months, each time.