coral reef tagged posts

China develops technology for monitoring coral reefs

Soft-body submersibles designed to resemble and move like manta rays have been developed by a team at the School of Navigation of Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province in central China, for monitoring coral reefs.  The R&D team began developing submersibles for coral reef monitoring in 2006, by studying the swimming patterns of marine organisms for their prototypes.

More recently, they have monitored outbreaks of species such as the crown-of-thorns starfish, which pose a threat to coral reefs by feeding on them in the South China Sea.

The team’s smaller submersibles are utilized for marine education and coral reef monitoring, while their larger models can dive deeper and for longer periods to collect more data.

Many people are curious wh...

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Fossil Fuels Blamed for ‘Colossal Tragedy’

The world is not doing enough to protect coral reefs, the United Nations’ special envoy for the ocean said last week, in defence of the marine ecosystems that protect biodiversity, sustain underwater life, and produce some of the oxygen we breathe. In an interview with The Associated Press on the sidelines of an international ocean conference in Greece, Peter Thomson suggested that all significant coral reefs should be included in marine protected areas under what is known as the “30×30” initiative, a plan to designate 30% of the world’s land and ocean areas as protected areas by 2030.

Top reef scientists announced last week that coral reefs are experiencing global bleaching for the fourth time—and the second time in just 10 years—as a result of warming oceans amid human-...

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A Healthy Coral Reef Is a Symphony

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, a natural wonder stretching over 1,400 miles off Australia’s Queensland coast, hosting 400 types of coral and thousands of fish species. Since 1981, it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and most of its ecosystem is protected.

But you might not know that it is also the stage for daily underwater concerts. Take a dive or listen to marine biologist Steven Simpson’s recordings and you hear grunt fish grunt, shrimps snap, damselfish chirp, clownfish grumble, sperm whales click and humpback whales sing their soprano mating songs that are audible over tens of miles.

“When I tell them fish have ears, people look at me like I’m mad,” says University of Bristol professor Steve Simpson...

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New method revives coral reefs in 4 years

A recent study sheds light on the promising prospects of coral reef restoration efforts, indicating a swift turnaround in the health of damaged reefs within just four years. Spearheaded by Ines Lange from the University of Exeter, the research offers a glimmer of hope amidst concerns over the plight of coral reefs globally.

Lange and her team focused their investigation on reefs in Indonesia, a region heavily impacted by human activities like blast fishing, which severely degrade these delicate ecosystems. Employing a combination of coral transplantation and the introduction of sand-coated steel structures known as ‘Reef Stars’ to stabilise the damaged substrate, researchers witnessed a remarkable resurgence in coral cover and carbonate production.

Published in Current Biology, ...

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Robots are trained to help revive coral reefs

“It’s a really special part of the world,” says marine biologist Taryn Foster from the Abrolhos Islands, 40 miles from the coast of Western Australia. “There are no palm trees or luscious vegetation. But once you get in the water, you see all these tropical species of coral and fish.” Corals are animals called polyps, found mostly in tropical waters. The soft-bodied polyp forms a hard outer shell by extracting calcium carbonate from the sea. Over time those hard shells build up to form the foundations of the reefs we see today. Coral reefs may only cover 0.2% of the seafloor, but they provide a habitat to more than a quarter of marine species.

However, the creatures are sensitive to heat and acidification so in recent years, as the oceans have warmed and become more acidic, corals ha...

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Protecting 30% of oceans by 2030 a huge challenge for the planet

How do we go from protecting eight per cent of marine areas to 30 per cent in less than 10 years? This question is at the heart of a global forum in Canada aiming to save marine ecosystems under threat from overfishing, pollution and climate change.

On the heels of the historic biodiversity agreement signed at COP15 in Montreal late last year, about 3,000 officials, scientists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Indigenous groups are meeting in Vancouver for the fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5), which opened on Friday (Feb 4) and runs until February 9.

Scientists have said the meeting is crucial for setting up a framework to reach the agreed target at COP15 of protecting 30 per cent of the planet’s lands and oceans by 2030.

It is an immense st...

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Investigation reveals Egypt’s ‘super coral’ at risk

As Egypt hosts world leaders at COP27 to discuss action over climate change, an oil terminal is dumping toxic wastewater on the country’s Red Sea coast, an investigation by BBC News Arabic has found. A rare form of coral, that offers hope for preserving ocean life as the planet warms, could be a casualty. Leaked documents obtained by the BBC and non-profit journalism group SourceMaterial reveal that “produced water” from Egypt’s Ras Shukeir oil terminal is being dumped into the Red Sea every day.

The barely treated wastewater – which is brought to the surface during oil and gas drilling – contains high levels of toxins, oil and grease.

The documents, which were issued by the Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (Gupco) in 2019 to try to hire a company to treat the water, say the pollution...

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U.S. Government Provides $15 Million to Launch Red Sea Initiative

Yesterday at COP27, the U.S. Government announced the Red Sea Initiative – a major new initiative aimed at conserving the Red Sea’s coastal ecosystem, while promoting high-value, low-environmental impact ecotourism. 

Through an initial U.S. Government contribution of $15 million, the Red Sea Initiative plans to: 

● Protect the Red Sea’s coral reef and surrounding coastal ecosystem against the impacts of climate change and human activity; 

● Empower local communities to lead on climate action; 

● Establish a blended finance mechanism to support businesses in building resilience against climate change, reducing emissions, and creating jobs; and 

● Partner with private businesses and other donors to leverage up to $50 million in total funding. 

To advance the w...

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Builders Vision and Bloomberg invest $18m for coral reefs

On the sidelines of the UN Oceans Conference, held from 27 June to 1 July 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal, the governments of Portugal and Kenya co-organised a forum on investment in the sustainable blue economy. One of the outcomes of the initiative was an increase in the capital of the Global Coral Reef Fund (GCRF). With two new commitments totalling US$18 million, the GFCR’s capital now stands at US$170 million.

The larger of the two contributions is from Builders Vision, an impact platform offering philanthropic tools and versatile investments to individuals and organisations committed to sustainable development. Builders Vision is investing US$5-10 million in the RFCG’s equity fund, as well as contributing US$5 million to the RFCG’s catalytic grant fund.

Bloomberg Philanthropies...

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Coral reef health can be measured through sound

Coral reefs have complex soundscapes – created by fish and other creatures living there – which can be used by scientists to measure coral health. However, traditional acoustic surveys of reefs rely on labor-intensive methods which face significant difficulties in assessing reef health through the use of individual recordings. Now, a research team led by the University of Exeter has trained a computer algorithm using multiple recordings of both healthy and degraded reefs, allowing the machine to learn the difference. When fed new data, this algorithm was able to successfully identify reef health 92 percent of the time.    

“Coral reefs are facing multiple threats including climate change, so monitoring their health and the success of conservation projects is vital,” said stu...

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