coral reef tagged posts

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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“Coral Extinction is Possible by the End of the 21st Century”

Coral reefs are complex, large underwater ecosystems that support marine life both as a form of food and shelter for fish. Over the years, the climate crisis has marked an end date for these vibrant marine structures, based on a new study in the Caribbean where marine ecologists warn that coral extinction is imminent if global temperatures continue to rise.

The new study followed recent research regarding the increasing risk brought by ocean warming to coral reef systems, placing them in the state of coral bleaching and eventual death.

Previous scientific papers have also revealed a drastic coral population decline across the globe, including in the Great Barrier Reef.

In addition to natural hazards, human-related activities such as overfishing and the use of explosive devices in...

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Climate resilient microalgae could help restore coral reefs

Coral species exhibit different temperature tolerances. This is in part due to the composition of their microalgae symbionts. With a new method, researchers from Uppsala University were able to predict how individual microalgae might behave under future temperature stress and identify more tolerant coral symbionts. In combination with forthcoming single cell selection and growth experiments, the identification of climate resilient cells provides opportunity to help mitigate the effects of coral bleaching.

Coral reefs provide sustenance and income to an estimated half billion people, attract tourists, protect coastlines and are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on our planet. Despite their importance, more than half of the world’s coral reefs are now under stress, primarily due to cl...

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Scientists map Caribbean coral reefs to tackle climate change

Scientists have mapped coral reefs in the Caribbean to identify those most likely to survive climate change. Corals with the highest potential to escape destruction from marine heat waves are predominantly located along the northern shoreline of Cuba. And other promising sites are clustered around the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, eastern Jamaica, and the US state of Florida.

Coral reefs are wonders of the ocean.

Made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny creatures, they are one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet.

According to a recent IPCC report (top-level UN reports written by scientists), at up to 1.5C of warming, only 10 to 30% of coral reefs are expected to survive. If warming is above that, survival prospects plummet drastically.

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Coral Reefs Dying At Unprecedented Rates

Coral reefs are being hit by climate change in just about every way possible. Wildfire, drought and other land-based climate disasters have captured global headlines, but coral reefs have been bleaching at record levels, and as such their future is uncertain. The science of climate change’s impact on coral reefs is simple. As humans pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, the ocean acts as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide (CO₂) and dissolving it into acid. 

As a result, ocean acidity has increased by about 25 percent since the early 19th century, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That acidity is incredibly harmful to coral reefs...

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