Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Science, Technology and Society Program


Lijing Jiang


Over the past 60 years, artificial reefs have expanded beyond the definition of a technology, and in turn have developed into a unique branch of marine science. To better emphasize this growth and separation, a brief history of artificial reef development and usage in chapter two shows some of the key shifts over time in this technology’s purpose and the materials used to achieve that goal. Likewise, to indicate the scientific development of artificial reefs as a branch of marine science, their usage for discovery and research is recorded in chapter three, along with the exponential increase in published scientific materials that relate to artificial reefs. With the increasing popularity of these reefs, monitoring the artificial systems became essential, and added to the separation of artificial reef science as a unique branch of marine science, as described in chapter four. Lastly, chapter five articulates that artificial reefs as a system have distinguished themselves from natural coral reefs, despite the heavy overlap in benefits. This separation, as explained by the issues that are entirely unique to artificial reefs, has resulted in more support for the idea that the science of artificial reefs is indeed its own branch of marine science.


Artificial reefs, coral reefs, marine engineering, marine science, history of science