Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS) 

Name of case study

Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS)


  • Green Island
  • Australia




Seascape scale

Area / size


NbS employed

Constructed reef

Type of NbS

Engineered intervention


Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority


Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service; Mars Incorporated; Quicksilver Cruises and Big Cat Green Island Cruises; The Coral Nurture Programme; and Gunggandji traditional owners.



Design group

Mars Incorporated

Constructed reef star. Photo by Commonwealth of Australia (2022)
Constructed reef star in place. Photo by Commonwealth of Australia (2022)
Climate change benefits
  •  coastal erosion
  • sea level rise
  • coastal inundation
  • storm surge
Societal / socio-cultural benefits
  • disaster risk reduction
  • food security
Ecological benefits
  • disturbance prevention
  • food production
  • habitat provision

Summary of case study

Green Island reef is “showing signs of impact from accumulating environmental stressors, including crown-of-thorns starfish, cyclones, and, most recently, coral bleaching” (Australian Government, 2022). In response, the Green Island site is subject to a five-year reef regeneration plan. The outcome of the regenerating constructed reef will form a diverse and healthier area of coral reef which will attract different marine species.

The artificial reef is made of constructed reef stars that are dropped to the bottom of the ocean. Fragments of broken coral pieces from the sea floor are tied onto the structures to start the evolution of a reef ecology. Algae and invertebrates attach themselves to the hard surfaces. Over time the coral system naturalises and develops while getting larger in size and density. This nature-based solution enables adaption to climate change, particularly increasing storm surge events which havedamaged the coral reefs. The artificial structure allows the opportunity for the reef to regenerate and become a more biodiverse and resilient reef system.

The coral has increased from 15% to 25% as a result of the project so far. This in turn has meant an increase of fish per monitored transect from 24 to 32 per transect in just a couple of months (Australian Government, 2022).

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Further resources:

<< Constructed Reefs / Living Breakwaters