Belize Barrier Reef recovers and is removed from UNESCO ‘In Danger’ list

June 28, 2018 by  
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Thanks to a comprehensive conservation effort, the exceptionally diverse Belize Barrier Reef has recovered so much that it has been removed from the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger sites. “At a time when we are seeing numerous threats to World Heritage sites, Belize’s government has taken real action to protect one of the world’s most special places,” World Wildlife Fund International director general Marco Lambertini told EcoWatch . “We have seen an incredible turnaround from when the reef was being threatened by seismic testing for oil just 18 months ago.” The decision to remove the Belize Barrier Reef from the ‘In Danger’ sites list arrives five months after Belize passed legislation banning all oil exploratory activity in its waters. The second largest reef system in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef provides habitat for 1,400 species, including vulnerable species of shark , sea turtle and manatee. The reef also provides food and economic opportunity for almost half of Belize’s population while serving as a natural barrier against extreme weather. First classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996, it was later added to the In Danger list in 2009 in response to increased oil exploration activity and damaging coastal construction. Related: Belize votes to indefinitely end all oil exploration in its waters As a result of a coordinated worldwide campaign, Belize, one of only three countries to ban all offshore oil exploration, put its barrier reef under protection. That effort is already bearing fruit. “Belizeans stood up to protect their reef, with hundreds of thousands more globally joining the campaign to save our shared heritage,” Lambertini said. “In taking swift collaborative action, Belize has shown that it is possible to reverse nature loss and create a sustainable future.” Belize is aiming to take its conservation to the next level by considering bans on single-use plastic products that threaten marine life . Via EcoWatch Images via Heath Alseike and Ruth

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Belize Barrier Reef recovers and is removed from UNESCO ‘In Danger’ list

World’s first beluga whale sanctuary will welcome new arrivals

June 28, 2018 by  
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In 2019, two beluga whales, named Little Grey and Little White, will be transported from the Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai to the world’s first whale sanctuary in a protected bay in Iceland . Established by the SEA LIFE Trust in collaboration with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation , the 32,000-square-meter Beluga Whale Sanctuary site was chosen for its sub-arctic climate and seclusion. “It’s really important for Little White and Little Grey, providing them with a more natural home in which to live out the rest of their lives,” head of the SEA LIFE Trust Andy Bool told Reuters . The whales are already being prepped for their journey and the colder waters of their new home through exercises designed to increase their strength and their ability to hold their breath underwater. With its stores of blubber and echolocation refined for finding holes in the sea ice through which to breathe, the beluga whale is well adapted to Arctic waters. The beluga is also a very social animal, typically living in groups of up to 10, though gatherings of hundreds or thousands of whales can occur in summer. While the species as a whole is not considered threatened, populations in certain regions, such as the Cook Inlet in Alaska , are endangered. Related: A beluga whale living with dolphins learned to “speak their language” In addition to their exercise regimen, Little Grey and Little White, both 12-year-old females, will be fed increased calories and gradually eased into using a stretcher, with which they will be restrained for part of their journey to their new home. Those who have made this sanctuary possible hope that it will set an example for other wildlife entertainment parks to release their animals into the wild. Whale and Dolphin Conservation captivity campaign manager Cathy Williamson told Reuters , “We believe this will inspire other facilities to move their belugas and other whales and dolphins to sanctuaries in other parts of the world.” + SEA LIFE Trust + Whale and Dolphin Conservation Via Reuters Images via Salva Barbera and Sheila Sund

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World’s first beluga whale sanctuary will welcome new arrivals

Save the Coral Reefs with the Right Sunscreen

March 30, 2018 by  
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Getting outside comes with a host of health benefits, but … The post Save the Coral Reefs with the Right Sunscreen appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Save the Coral Reefs with the Right Sunscreen

Newly-discovered hermit crab species uses living coral as shells

October 19, 2017 by  
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For the first time ever, a hermit crab has been documented to have found its “forever” home. Off the coast of Japan , a new species of the crab has partnered with a living coral. The coral grows as the crab ages, which means it has no need to continue searching for a bigger shell to live in. Unlike its counterparts, this new species has a perfectly symmetrical body to fit the coral that grows with it. The discovery of the Diogenes heteropsammicola  is described in the journal PLOS ONE . This is the first species of hermit crab to live within “walking coral,” a free-living variety of coral that grows as tiny lumps on the sea floor. This relationship has been witnessed before, but usually between the peanut worm (or more formally, a sipunculan) and the living coral. Because the coral protects the worm and the worm carries the coral around the sea floor, it is considered to be a mutually beneficial partnership . Both species are in sync with each other, as their relationship has evolved for thousands of years. Related: How We Harvest Horseshoe Crab Blood to Save Human Lives As IFLScience points out, that makes this latest discovery even more amazing — and unusual. It is relatively unheard of for one species to diversify to include other organisms , such as the coral has done with the hermit crab. This is because the initial partnership often requires an extraordinary amount of specialization. Nonetheless, the coral has accepted the crab, likely because the crustacean carries the coral around the sea floor and prevents it from being covered in sediment. In turn, the coral protects the small creature. This is definitely an improvement upon hermit crabs adopting discarded bottles and pollution as their new homes. + PLOS ONE Via IFLScience Images via  Momoko Igawa,  Igawa et al. 2017

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No, the Great Barrier Reef isnt dead – but it is damaged

October 17, 2016 by  
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Last week, social media users from around the world were shocked and horrified to find the Great Barrier Reef had been “declared dead” in a viral symbolic obituary from Outside Magazine. There was only one problem: the premise of the article isn’t actually true, and scientists have been scrambling to correct the record in the following days. What is true is that the reef is struggling due to climate change, and needs urgent help if it’s going to survive. Earlier this year, a shocking 93% of the reef began experiencing a phenomenon known as “bleaching,” which occurs when warm ocean temperatures stress the reef, causing the tiny colored algae living within the coral organisms to become ejected. Without the algae, the coral eventually dies. In fact, this is what’s recently happened to about 22% of the coral on the reef. While this is the worst mass bleaching event on record, the majority of the reef is still alive and struggling. Related: This startling video shows coral bleaching in action The viral obituary has marine scientists scrambling to correct the record. In a statement to the Huffington Post , Russell Brainard, chief of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, expressed his frustration. While the article may have been a well-intentioned attempt to highlight the urgency of the situation, he worries that people will take it at face value and assume that there’s no work to be done to save what’s left of the reef. In fact, there is reason for hope: one study last year found that even after massive bleaching events, it is possible for reefs to fully recover. However, it’s a slow process that requires stable conditions to occur — something the reef may not have if bleaching events continue to occur at a faster and faster rate. Related: More than one-third of the coral is dead in parts of Great Barrier Reef If we don’t act soon to protect our oceans, we may see the world’s coral reefs perish for real. The driving cause of coral mass bleaching events is climate change , and if global temperatures continue to rise, we will reach a point at which coral simply can’t survive. That’s why it’s so important to vote for candidates with a strong environmental record, write to our representatives, and do what we can to reduce our individual carbon footprint . Via Slashdot Images via Wikipedia and Oregon State University

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No, the Great Barrier Reef isnt dead – but it is damaged

This startling video shows coral bleaching in action

August 18, 2016 by  
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Rising ocean temperatures have prompted devastating coral bleaching in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – and in some sections, at least 35 percent of bleached coral has died. Now scientists at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have scrutinized just how coral reacts to hotter temperatures in controlled conditions, and caught the process on film. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bjamypAq9Y Scientists Brett Lewis and Luke Nothdurft put Heliofungia actiniformis coral in a 10 liter “aquarium system” to see how the coral would respond as they heated the water. Over 12 hours, they increased water temperatures from 26 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius, or about 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit up to 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit. They kept the coral in the system for around eight days. Related: Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching is now more widespread than ever The coral spewed Symbiodinium algae that live in them and provide the brilliant colors we’re used to seeing in coral reefs. The algae also generate sugars consumed by the coral. Expelling algae under the duress of hot temperatures can help the coral to survive – Lewis said “rapid expulsion” could increase the coral’s chance of survival. It’s possible for coral to regain the algae and their vivid colors if conditions improve, but if ocean temperatures don’t return to normal levels and the algae doesn’t recolonize, the coral can die. Scientists have been aware of this expulsion process, but the QUT team’s video is the first to show the eviction in action. Lewis said in a press release, “What’s really interesting is just how quickly and violently the coral forcefully evicted its resident symbionts. The H. actiniformis began ejecting the symbionts within the first two hours of us raising the water temperature of the system.” Northdurft said coral bleaching is a “concern for scientists globally.” The journal Coral Reefs published their research online earlier this month. + Queensland University of Technology

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This startling video shows coral bleaching in action

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

Gorgeous Solar-Powered Blue Empire Cottage Filters Equatorial Light in Kenya

April 3, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Gorgeous Solar-Powered Blue Empire Cottage Filters Equatorial Light in Kenya Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “natural materials” , Africa , Claudio Modola , coral , Daylighting , drift wood , eco design , equatorial light , green design , kenya , Lamu , local craftsmen , makuti roof , Manda , Solar Power , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , Sustainable Materials , teak

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Gorgeous Solar-Powered Blue Empire Cottage Filters Equatorial Light in Kenya

BP Oil Spill Responsible for Coral Damage in Gulf of Mexico

March 27, 2012 by  
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The Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill are now confirmed to be responsible for deep sea coral deaths in the Gulf of New Mexico. Scientists say that almost two years after the BP Macondo well oil spill, coral communities as far as 4,000 feet beneath the sea’s surface show that oil from the blowout site bear the well’s chemical “ fingerprints .” What had once been full of vibrant colors, researchers say, is now an area sullied with brown, dull and dying coral. Read the rest of BP Oil Spill Responsible for Coral Damage in Gulf of Mexico Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: BP , coral , coral damage , deepwater horizon , gulf of mexico , Gulf oil spill , gulf spill , macondo well , national academy of sciences , oil spill , oil spill disaster

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GOMMAdesign’s Coral City is a Self-Sustaining Eco-Village for the Phillipines

September 21, 2011 by  
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Designed by GOMMAdesign and +ITA Project , Coral City is as a self-sustaining and disaster-resistant eco-village for the Philippines . Starting from the idea that natural structures are the best sources of inspiration in the design of new and sustainable communities, the coral-inspired master plan aims to foster community while also integrating cutting-edge sustainable design. Coral city was awarded with the special ‘Energy Award’ at the DAtE international competition. + GOMMAdesign +ITA 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 , disaster proff architecture , eco-village , gommadesign , green architecture , green design , ita project , Self-sustaining city , Solar-Powered City

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