Three-Dimensional-Printed Coral-like Structures as a Habitat for Reef Fish

Asa Oren, Ofer Berman, Reem Neri, Ezri Tarazi, Haim Parnas, Offri Lotan, Majeed Zoabi, Noam Josef, Nadav Shashar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Coral reefs are three-dimensional biogenic structures that provide habitat for plenty of marine organisms; yet, coral reefs are deteriorating worldwide. Hence, it is essential to identify suitable substitutes for such coral services. This study examines reef fishes’ behavior and reactions to three-dimensional-printed (3DP) corals based on scanned Stylophora pistillata, as well as modified 3DP models. In particular, fishes’ unresponsiveness to the color, shape, morphology, and material of 3DP models both in vitro and in situ experiments was investigated. Coral reef fishes responded to the 3DP corals and demonstrated their usage in a range of services. Moreover, a greater number of fish species interacted more with 3DP models than they did with live corals. Furthermore, specific reef fish species, such as Sea Goldies (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), showed a preference for specific 3DP coral color, and other species demonstrated preferences for specific 3DP model shapes. The current study results show that three-dimensional-printed coral models can substitute for live corals for certain types of reef fish services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number882
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • 3D printing
  • artificial reef
  • color vision
  • coral reef
  • reef fishes’ behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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