LEDs under the sea

Temperatures continue to spike across the country, making it glaringly evident that summer’s hit its stride. Time to pack up your sunscreen and cruise to the beach!

While the soft sand sifts through your fingertips and crashing waves tempt you to dive in, pause for a moment to look around – you’ll likely notice more ocean conservation and animal endangerment signs than ever before.

As environmental activists strive to increase awareness and encourage community members to be more proactive, you might be surprised to learn that LEDs are beginning to play a role in improving your beloved oceanic environments.

From a lighting system capable of increasing coral growth to lighted fish nets that prevent overfishing, here’s a look at some of the ways LEDs are being used today to protect the sea.

LEDs speed up growth in coral reefs

Two award-winning students from Burapha University in Thailand recently invented a computer-controlled LED lighting system capable of stimulating and quickening the growth of coral in threatened reefs. By using different shades and light frequencies to simulate natural sunlight and moonlight, the system’s LED bulbs enable coral to reach growth maturity weeks, and even months, faster than normal.

Sea turtle hatchlings saved by LED lights

When baby sea turtles first emerge from their eggs, they should make their way to the ocean by instinctively following the moonlight reflected off the water. However, in Florida, turtles have become confused by the bright incandescent lights of hotels and restaurants along the beaches and often die as they mistake crawling toward civilization for crawling toward the moonlit ocean.

Fortunately, certain LED lights operate at levels that do not attract sea turtles, and many properties are switching to these new LED lights. As a result, there has been a significant decrease in the number of baby turtle deaths.

Sea TurtlePhoto Credit: Scientific American

LED fish nets prevent bycatching and overfishing

Globally, about 40 percent of marine life that winds up in a fishing net goes wasted or unmanaged. In an attempt to preserve the delicate marine ecosystem and save endangered marine species, a British designer has come up with a new type of fishing net that is equipped with LEDs.

The LEDs are attached to large light hoops positioned throughout the netting that alert smaller fish and allow unwanted fish to escape. The LED hoops can operate at different wavelengths, helping save sea turtles and hammerhead sharks, as well as bottom-dwelling ocean species.

LED Fishnets

Photo Credit: LEDinside                

Although there’s still a long way to go towards improving the health and safety of marine wildlife, LEDs are helping to bring us one small step closer. As new uses are discovered, it isn’t hard to imagine LEDs playing an integral role in ocean revitalization for years to come.