University of Queensland wants to drop "bommies" on the Great Barrier Reef

July 25, 2018 by  
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Experts at the University of Queensland are experimenting with a new way of saving Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – one of the most endangered natural environments on the planet – and their strategy might surprise you. Researchers in the university’s Civil Engineering and Biological Sciences department have been salvaging portions of dead coral and recycling them into new structures. They hope that the project will not only protect still-active parts of the reef, but restore it with new life as well. University scientists are collaborating with engineering, science and technology consulting firm BMT to create netted structures that contain unstable rubble made up of dead coral, with the goal of transforming them into bombora. Bombora, or “bommies” as Australians have dubbed them, are large pillars of coral that serve as a habitat for myriad fish species and – when strategically positioned – may help repair the reef in a natural, non-invasive manner. Related: Australia is investing over $377 million to save the Great Barrier Reef The team has received funding from the Australian and Queensland governments that will allow it to commence pilot testing on the project. If the reef is not aided by external forces, it may not be able to survive the coral bleaching events of 2016 and 2017. While other projects have been suggested, including using giant fans in an attempt to cool down reef waters or developing films to shield the coral from increased sunlight exposure, the bommies would represent a more sustainable and natural endeavor. Professor Tom Baldock, who is working on the project, explains, “on a healthy reef, the wave energy is reduced by the coral structure, enabling broken coral to naturally bind to form a stable layer, initially through the growth of crustose coralline algae, or CCA. CCA helps bind coral rubble together to create the framework for reefs and releases chemicals which attract free-swimming coral larvae.” The research team is working hard in their race against the clock to establish this organic foundation and protect one of the Earth’s most beautiful yet endangered habitats. +University of Queensland Via NewAtlas

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University of Queensland wants to drop "bommies" on the Great Barrier Reef

Colombia to produce free chocolate deforestation-free, that is…

July 25, 2018 by  
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You’ll soon be able to enjoy your chocolate guilt-free. Colombia has become the first Latin American country and the third country in the world to commit to deforestation-free cocoa production. The government signed a pledge with the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, a movement intent on achieving this goal throughout all cocoa-producing nations. The country hopes to achieve this monumental goal in just under two years. The Casa Luker company, a cornerstone brand in Colombian chocolate manufacturing, has joined the pledge along with the National Cocoa Federation, and the initiative is spearheaded by the World Cocoa Foundation. These organizations are committed to helping Colombia achieve deforestation-free chocolate production by the year 2020. Colombia will join other member-nations Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana , making it the third country to engage in the anti-deforestation effort. Related: Australia’s rampant deforestation is killing koalas In 2017, Colombia faced “one of the most drastic losses of tree cover in the world,” according to Mongabay . In total, tropical countries lost forest grounds approximately the size of Bangladesh, and Colombia experienced a 46 percent rise in deforestation from the previous calendar year, losing about 1,640 square miles (or 4,250 square kilometers) of greenery. Not wanting this degradation to continue, the Colombian government has agreed to a Framework for Action subsisting of “11 core commitments, which include preventing deforestation and forest degradation; promoting the conservation of protected areas; respecting the rights of cocoa farmers and minimizing adverse social and economic impacts monitoring and reporting on the progress on commitments; ensuring transparency and accountability; and providing support to sustainable markets for cocoa products.” Related: First newly-developed chocolate in 80 years is made from Ruby cocoa beans Enthusiastic about the progress, Eduard Baquero López, president of the National Cocoa Federation, said, “There are many inspiring examples of cocoa production leading to forest protection and restoration; we wish to gain greater global market access for Colombia’s cocoa, which has such a distinctive quality and which is rare in contributing both to forest protection and to the peace. We hope the global consumer will come to enjoy their chocolate even more when they learn it protects the forests and delivers the peace!” + World Cocoa Foundation Via Mongabay

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Scientists create ‘umbrella’ spray to protect coral reefs from sun damage

March 27, 2018 by  
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Researchers have crafted a new liquid substance that can be sprayed onto the surface of the water above vulnerable coral reefs , shielding them from intense UV and visible light beaming down from the Sun . In doing so, the spray may help to defend reefs from extreme bleaching events. 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, the biodegradable spray is made from a natural lipid and calcium carbonate, a key component of coral reefs. “It is white so it reflects and scatters all the light which hits the ocean surface,” study researcher Andrew Negri told the Sydney Morning Herald . Laboratory tests revealed that the spray was capable of reducing the amount of light reaching underwater coral by 20 percent. “In the laboratory, it actually stays on the surface for several weeks, but in the ocean it could be broken up by wave action and moved around by the currents,” explained Negri. The spray will quickly biodegrade after it is broken up. Trials in a real-world environment will begin soon to refine the spray and make it more resilient to sometimes turbulent waters . Related: Spraying spiders with graphene helps them spin webs 6 times stronger than normal Conservationists are enthused about the idea of using the spray to protect acute vulnerabilities in coral reefs. “The idea being that you could in the future, knowing there is going to be hot days ahead… spray this film on top of key reefs… and this will act as a bit of a shield… almost like an umbrella, to protect these reefs underneath and the animals underneath,” Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden told the Sydney Morning Herald . “It’s important to note that this is not intended to be a solution that can be applied over the whole 348,000 square kilometres of Great Barrier Reef ,” Marsden noted. “That would never be practical, but it could be deployed on a smaller, local level to protect high value or high-risk areas of reef.” Via The Sydney Morning Herald Images via Depositphotos (2 , 3 )

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Scientists create ‘umbrella’ spray to protect coral reefs from sun damage

Rising ocean temperatures are cooking the Great Barrier Reef to death

April 10, 2017 by  
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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef offers dramatic evidence of the reality of climate change . Scientists have found an astonishing two-thirds of the reef undergoing mass coral bleaching as warmer ocean temperatures are basically boiling them to death. James Kerry, a scientist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies , told CNN when ocean temperatures are hot for long periods of time, corals don’t simply bleach but “cook and they die very quickly.” 2016 saw a bleaching event that was the worst coral die-off we’ve ever recorded, and now a 2017 event makes matters worse. ARC Centre director Terry Hughes said the impact of back-to-back bleaching sprawls across 900 miles; only the southern third of the Great Barrier Reef is unharmed. It’s the second time in only 12 months scientists have recorded mass bleaching in the reef after aerial surveys. Related: Great Barrier Reef bleaching is the “worst coral die-off” in recorded history And 2017’s bleaching can’t be explained away by El Niño . Hughes said the bleaching “is caused by record-breaking temperatures driven by global warming .” The Great Barrier Reef has experienced severe bleaching in 1998, 2002, and now 2016 and 2017, according to scientists. Kerry said bleached corals don’t always die, but take at least a decade to make a full recovery, so with back-to-back bleaching they expect coral loss. Tropical Cyclone Debbie didn’t help either. The storm may have left damage in its wake when it hit part of the Great Barrier Reef at the end of March. Hughes said in a statement, “Clearly the reef is struggling with multiple impacts. Without a doubt the most pressing of these is global warming. As temperatures continue to rise the corals will experience more and more of these events: one degree Celsius of warming so far has already caused four events in the past 19 years. Ultimately we need to cut carbon emissions , and the window to do so is rapidly closing.” Via the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and CNN Images via Bette Willis and Ed Roberts/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

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Great Barrier Reef bleaching is the "worst coral die-off" in recorded history

November 30, 2016 by  
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The health of the Great Barrier Reef is widely thought to be an indicator for the state of the Earth’s marine ecosystems, and the announcement made Tuesday that the reef is currently experiencing the worst coral die-off in recorded history doesn’t bode well for the rest of our waters. The depressing conclusion was reached after evaluating data collected during more than 900 dives along the 1,400-mile reef. When coral is exposed to too much warm water, it dies, thus transforming from a vibrant display of colorful creatures to a white or greyish skeleton. Its light color is known as “coral bleaching,” and researchers are recording ever larger spans of the reef where this phenomenon is taking place. On Tuesday, Prof. Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland, said on Tuesday that around two-thirds of the shallow-water coral on the reef’s 430-mile northern stretch is now dead, but the survival rates in the middle and southern parts of the reef are much better. Related: No, the Great Barrier Reef isn’t dead – but it is damaged “The good news is that in the south, only about 1 percent of the reef’s coral has died, and the mortality rate in the middle is about 6 percent,” Hughes said. “But in the north, mortality rates are very high, and in some places where coral has survived but it has weakened, the per capita predation rate has gone through the roof.” Hughes noted that this is the third major bleaching event to hit the Great Barrier Reef, and that while some sections of the reef are still thriving, their fate remains uncertain. Increasing warming trends in ocean water currents pose higher and higher future threat to the remaining living coral, not to mention the other creatures living in and around the reef. In response to the issue, the Australian government is putting about $33.6 million into efforts to protect the reef, by improving water quality and reducing sediment runoff. Australian leaders may petition the United Nations to declare the Great Barrier Reef an “in danger” site, a move the international coalition has stopped short of in recent years. Via NYT Images via ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

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Croatian freshwater aquarium by 3LHD is built right into the hillside

November 30, 2016 by  
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Designers at 3LHD transformed an abandoned campsite into a unique hillside aquarium in Karlovac, Croatia . Freshwater fish and plant life are featured at the aquarium to give the public a deeper understanding of the area’s ecosystems . The educational center and its nearby shops are located both alongside and underneath the natural hillside, covered in green grass as a sign of unity with the surrounding habitat. The Karlovac aquarium sits alongside the river Korana, where a diverse array of wildlife flourishes. 3LHD derived inspiration for the center’s design from the revered “Karlovac star”, upon which many buildings and city structures are based. Visitors can stroll through the open center of the attraction to reach the gift shop, reading room, and cafe bar, which is accessible by strategically placed, multidirectional walkways. Related: South America’s largest aquarium boasts a 650-foot underwater tunnel Once guests walk inside, they are greeted by a symbolic river exhibit that displays the full biodiversity of the area. Surface waters give way to deeper aquariums on the lower level, where species no longer flourishing in the area can be found. On the other side of the tunnel, marshlands are displayed with lilies and rushes, which eventually give way to a climactic collection of waterfalls. The entire center is an experience unlike any other aquarium – an educational story told from beginning to end. The Karlovac aquarium is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund . Scientific research facilities and fish acclimatization spaces can be found on site, proving the center’s dedication to preserving the natural state of the surrounding ecosystems. +3LHD Via World Architecture News Images via 3LHD

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Croatian freshwater aquarium by 3LHD is built right into the hillside

Surfers drop in for the climate action ride

May 5, 2016 by  
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The World Surf League funds research on ocean health, acidification, coral reef health and sea level rise.

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Microsoft co-founder destroys protected Cayman Islands reef

February 1, 2016 by  
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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is coming under fire for an accident involving his massive 300-foot yacht, which ploughed into a protected coral reef on January 14th. The damage was extensive: the ship’s chain ripped up 14,000 square feet, or 80% of the reef. What makes this especially embarrassing is the fact that Allen is a well-known marine conservationist — last year alone, he donated $2.6 million to help preserve fisheries. Read the rest of Microsoft co-founder destroys protected Cayman Islands reef

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Noah Oasis Skyscraper transforms offshore oil rigs into vertical bio-habitats

April 1, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Noah Oasis Skyscraper transforms offshore oil rigs into vertical bio-habitats Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bio-habitat , coral reef , environmental destruction , eVolo Skyscraper Competition 2015 , green skyscraper , marine life , Noah Oasis skyscraper , offshore oil rigs , oil spill , vertical habitat

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Noah Oasis Skyscraper transforms offshore oil rigs into vertical bio-habitats

New documentary takes a look at the scientific art collective Coral Morphologic’s living artworks

February 9, 2015 by  
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A new documentary called Coral City takes an exclusive look at the scientific art collective Coral Morphologic’s living artworks: colorful reefs created using coral polyps native to Miami. Coral Morphologic explores the visual storytelling potential of coral reef organisms through film, multimedia and site-specific artworks. The collective also seeks to bring attention to the factors that are negatively impacting the area’s corals – in addition to the city of Miami itself – that face increasingly high levels of water. You can read more about the project and watch parts one and two of the documentary  here . + The Creators Project The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: coral city , Coral City documentary , Coral City video , Coral Morphologic , reader submission , The Creators Project , Vice news

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