Key phase of Everglades restoration project starts in November

September 21, 2020 by  
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Federal and Florida state authorities are working together to complete the Tamiami Trail Next Steps Project, an important part of restoring the Everglades. The state was just awarded a $200 million contract, meaning the last step of this plan, which Congress approved in 2009, will finally begin in November. “Phase 2 of the project will focus on raising and reconstructing the remaining 6.7 miles of the eastern Tamiami Trail with features to further improve water conveyance, roadway safety, and stormwater treatment,” according to an official statement. “Construction on Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in November 2020.” Related: Can Florida save its prized Everglades from climate change destruction? The Tamiami Trail is the 275 miles of U.S. Highway 41 that join Tampa and Miami. Politicians in Tallahassee came up with the idea to link Florida’s west and east coasts with this route in 1915. But in the last 105 years, traffic has increased more than anybody could have foreseen, straining local ecosystems . Before the highway and other human interference, more than 450 billion gallons of water per year easily flowed southward into what is now Everglades National Park. By 2000, that figure was only about 260 billion gallons of water per year, resulting in a deteriorating ecosystem. That year, Congress authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which aimed to “restore, preserve, and protect the south Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection.” With a 35-plus-year timeline and a $10.5 billion budget, this was the largest hydrologic restoration project in the country’s history. The restoration project is important for both wildlife and the state’s economy. Routing more freshwater to the Everglades will keep salt water at bay, providing drinking water for humans and animals and helping to restore wetlands for wading birds. A better water flow will also boost recreational activities and agriculture and help maintain real estate values. Everybody from the Florida panther to the alligator to the Midwestern tourist will benefit from this investment in the Everglades ecosystem. “The granting of this award is an exciting milestone in the completion of such a critical project for Everglades restoration,” said Margaret Everson, acting director of the National Park Service, according to CBS Miami . “This step is a wonderful example of how collaboration and coordination with our partners sets the stage for long-term restoration efforts.” + National Park Service Via CBS Miami Image via Pixabay

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Key phase of Everglades restoration project starts in November

How your beauty routine might be killing sharks

July 20, 2020 by  
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Even before Jaws , people were fascinated with sharks. But they are much more than the menacing villains they portray in movies. Their beauty is impossible to ignore. There’s a whole week of TV dedicated to sharks, because it’s so easy to celebrate these animals. Sharks are at the top of their food chain, so it’s hard to imagine these beautiful beasts could ever be in danger. But there’s an even more powerful hunter prowling the oceans and putting these animals at risk: humans. Every year, millions of sharks die for common makeup products. The secret life of shark oil Human skin naturally produces squalene, a hydrating oil. Many cosmetics companies add squalene to their products to supplement the natural squalene your skin produces. It’s a common ingredient in lipstick, sunscreen, eye shadow, lotion and foundation. Squalene is a popular addition to anti-aging creams. You can even find it in hair products. Related: Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down There are many sources of squalene in plants. You can find it in yeasts, wheat germ, olives, sugarcane and rice bran. However, plant-based squalene is 30% more expensive to make than squalene found in animals. The cheapest source of animal-based squalene is found in sharks. Around 2.7 million sharks are killed annually for cosmetic industry products. That’s an even bigger problem as the number of sharks in the oceans is dwindling. Sharks 101 Sharks actually predate the dinosaurs — by more than 200 million years . They’ve survived major climate changes, possibly one catastrophic meteor impact and more than one massive extinction event. But now, shark populations are declining at alarming rates around the world. Almost one-quarter of all shark species are officially threatened with extinction . Compared to other marine animals , sharks produce very few offspring. This makes them even more vulnerable to human threats. In addition to being hunted by cosmetic companies, sharks are hunted by commercial fishers who hope to cash in on selling shark fins. The fins are a delicacy used in soup . The WWF has flagged several shark species for concern, including the hammerhead, because their numbers are dwindling so dramatically. The Shark Allies One company hopes to save the sharks. Since 2007, Shark Allies has been fighting for these finned swimmers of the deep. Shark Allies was started by Stefanie Brendl. She began scuba diving at 22 and started working with sharks in Hawaii. In an interview with Inhabitat, she spoke about how she came to love sharks and why she knew she had to help them. “I ran a shark diving operation in Hawaii for several years, photographing and diving with sharks of all shapes and sizes,” Brendl said. “Through that work, I came to realize that I had to do something to protect them, so I switched gears to focus on shark conservation .” Brendl was traveling in Indonesia and Micronesia in the 1990s. That’s when everything changed. “We actually saw first-hand a long line fishing vessel that had pulled into the harbor with dried fins hanging off the railings. This hit me particularly hard because this is a place that is famous for shark diving and [one] that was putting great efforts into protecting their sharks. It came as such a shock to me and it inspired me to learn all I could in the years that followed.” Shark Allies has been hard at work in the years since, sponsoring legislature aimed at protecting the oceans’ most famous predators. Shark Allies helped pass the Kristen Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act in Florida. “This bill bans the import, export and trade of shark fins in Florida, which is currently the biggest hub of the shark fin trade in the U.S. The bill unanimously passed both the House and Senate,” Brendl explained. Shark Allies is also part of the EU Citizens Initiative, a group that is working to bring the issue of the shark fin trade to the European Commission. How you can help Want to become one of the Shark Allies? Brendl says everyone is welcome. “Our mission at Shark Allies is to make it possible for every person to become a warrior for sharks and get involved with shark conservation. We have an entire page that helps people to ‘Take Action Now,’ from emailing your legislatures to putting pressure on manufacturers to stop using shark products.” Shark Allies is also working on its Shark Free Products campaign, aimed at spreading awareness about squalene in the cosmetics industry. For the record, Brendl’s favorite species of shark is the tiger shark — but only for diving encounters. When it comes to saving the sharks of the world, she has no favorites. Brendl hopes to save them all from cosmetics companies. PETA and many other websites offer up-to-date lists of cosmetics companies that do not test on animals, nor use animal-derived ingredients (such as squalene) to create their products. By not buying products made of shark squalene, you can send a strong message to the cosmetics companies that they need to change their production methods. + Shark Allies Images via Pixabay

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New hydrogen production tech could reduce CO2 pollution

July 20, 2020 by  
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A recent publication in the journal Angewandte Chemie brings attention to an improved way of generating clean hydrogen . For many years, hydrogen production has proven costly to the environment, as industrial hydrogen production uses partial methane oxidation and fossil gasification. Currently,  95% of the world’s hydrogen  is produced through such methods, leading to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, producing one ton of hydrogen emits of seven tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In a recent experiment conducted by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, photo-electrochemical cells showed potential for producing pollution -free hydrogen. These cells combine a photo-absorbing gadget such as the solar panels with an electrolysis system to split water atoms and produce hydrogen gas without causing CO2 pollution. Although the concept of electrolysis is not new to hydrogen producers, the cost has always hampered this method. The most advanced system of electrolysis available involves the separation of hydrogen from water molecules through a photovoltaic current. Although the photovoltaic system has proven effective in generating hydrogen, it is expensive to maintain compared to fossil fuel-based hydrogen production. As a result, many  scientists have researched  ways to advance photovoltaic technology and reduce the costs involved. The KAUST researchers’ recent experiment may provide a glimmer of hope for this endeavor. According to Professor Hicham Idriss, the lead researcher, this discovery will significantly lower the cost of producing hydrogen through electrolysis. Contrary to the traditional photovoltaic process, the photo-electrochemical cells can absorb light to produce power that will produce hydrogen without the need for control circuits, connectors and other auxiliary tools that make the process expensive. While the experiment points in the right direction for future hydrogen production, much work is still needed. Idriss admits that the research team faced many challenges in up-scaling the system for industrial hydrogen production. Although the team is in the initial stages of testing the new technology’s viability, the process is still more expensive than fossil fuel -based hydrogen production methods. Should this new technology be adopted, hydrogen producers will have to balance economic and environmental costs. + Angewandte Chemie Via Advanced Science News Image via Pixabay

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Tracking climate data in real time

July 20, 2020 by  
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Climate TRACE, an alliance of climate research groups, is developing a new tracker using artificial intelligence that would allow the public to access international climate data in real time. They hope to have it ready to unveil at the COP26 climate change meetings in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021. The finished tracker will track all global greenhouse gases in real time. Third parties will verify the data, and the information will be available free to the public. Related: This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change “Currently, most countries do not know where most of their emissions come from,” Kelly Sims Gallagher, a professor of energy and environmental policy at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, told Vox . “Even in advanced economies like the United States, emissions are estimated for many sectors.” Gaining this information, she said, could help countries devise smart and effective policies to mitigate emissions and chart progress on their goals. The effort began last year, when U.S.-based WattTime , U.K.-based Carbon Tracker and some other nonprofits made a successful grant application to Google.org, which is Google’s philanthropic arm. Google gave them $1.7 million for their mission of using AI and satellite data for real-time tracking of global power plant emissions. Other nonprofits and environmental crusaders, including Al Gore, heard about the effort and became involved. Now, the Climate TRACE (which stands for Tracking Real-Time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions) Coalition includes a handful of niche organizations with important things to offer. For example, Hypervine employs spectroscopic imagery to chart blasting at quarries, and OceanMind tracks global movements of ships, extrapolating carbon emissions based on engine specs. For years, the lack of accurate climate data has caused friction between countries, who waste time arguing over monitoring, reporting and verifying data. Sometimes a country later reveals that they reported inaccurate data, such as when China admitted in 2015 to underestimating coal usage by 17%. Such revelations breed suspicion between countries who need to work together to solve our climate crisis. “It will empower the people who really are interested in reducing their emissions,” Gore said of the new climate tracker. “It is extremely important for this effort to be independent and reliable, and for it to constantly improve.” + Climate TRACE Image via William Bossen

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#degrowth art series exposes greenwashing in the food industry

July 20, 2020 by  
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While reaching for products with an “eco-friendly” label may seem like the better choice in any situation, well-intended consumers should always be aware of “greenwashing” — the process of conveying false or misleading impressions about how environmentally sound a product is (typically with the intention to overcharge). The presence of greenwashing often comes from a business’ PR or marketing team to persuade buyers that its products are eco-friendly. It doesn’t just apply to products, either; greenwashing tactics are sometimes used to convince the public that a company’s policies and procedures are sustainable, as well. Enter Quatre Caps, an image studio from Spain that aims to bring social awareness back to food. Quatre Caps’ new art series, #degrowth, reflects on consumer-projected concepts and habits, such as carbon footprints and local consumption. The two trendiest goals in the food market, healthier diets and environmentally friendly consumption, tend to be grouped under the same umbrella despite not pursuing the same objective, according to the studio. Related: Explore eerie wonders at the Museum of Underwater Art Eco-labels, mainly the labeling systems used for food and consumer products to determine levels of eco-friendliness, have increased rapidly in recent years. These labels can be quite misleading, Quatre Caps says. The studio believes the key to restructuring the buying process and becoming more aware of the negative externalities of choice in purchasing comes from being faster and smarter than offending advertising agencies. Doubting initial information and doing the research as to which companies and products are truly eco-friendly is one way to achieve this, and understanding that good intentions aren’t the same as good actions is another. This thoughtful art series is aptly named, as the term “degrowth” is based on critiques of the global system which pursues growth at all costs, regardless of human exploitation and environmental destruction. The #degrowth collection is a reflection of the different carbon footprints that certain consumer-based choices produce, depending on factors like origin, agricultural technique and packaging. + Quatre Caps Images via Quatre Caps

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Rocket Crafters creates safer, greener hybrid rocket engine technology

July 10, 2020 by  
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Rocket Crafters, an aerospace company based in Florida, is patenting its hybrid rocket engine technology . The engine, which the company described as throttle-able, affordable, reliable and 3D-printed, is said to be a milestone in the world of rocket science. For many years, rocket scientists have been trying to develop a hybrid engine — unsuccessfully. All of these attempts failed along the way due to fuel combustion issues. However, thanks to 3D-printing technology, Rocket Crafters has managed to develop a hybrid engine known as the STAR-3D. The engine has completed over 40 subscale engine tests and is now poised to engage in large-scale tests. What is a hybrid rocket engine? If you are not a fan of rockets or rocket science, you may not have a clue about the impact of developing a hybrid engine . In simple terms, a hybrid engine means that the rocket will be fueled by a combination of solid and liquid or gas fuel. This is a big achievement for the world, considering that the hybrid engine will be much greener. The combustion of rocket fuels has negative impacts on the environment, but this new technology tries to address these issues. Related: Studio Roosegaarde’s laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky Rockets that are strictly solid-fueled cannot be throttled or restarted, while hybrid rockets can. This is one of the reasons why many scientists have been working on hybrid rocket technology. The hybrid engine is much faster and safer as compared to solid- or liquid-fueled counterparts. According to Rocket Crafters, the company can also scale rocket engines from 125lbf all the way to 5000lbf. Compared to the liquid-fueled rocket engines, the hybrid is much easier to develop and less expensive, too. Liquid-fueled rockets have been favored in the past for being environmentally safer than solid-fueled rockets; however, the cost of developing liquid-fueled rockets has proved to be the problem. Most aerospace companies have been striving to find a balance between the cost and sustainability of the rockets . Hybrid engines are less expensive in terms of maintenance. The engines by Rocket Crafters only have two movable parts, which means that they are less mechanical. They separately store fuel in two different states (solid and liquid), which helps safeguard against accidental detonation. But the attempt to shift to hybrid engines has been met by many challenges. According to a report in 3DPrint, both governments and industries have been unable to develop a safe hybrid engine for years. In previous attempts, the rockets were met with issues such as excessive thrust and unpredictable vibrations. Purpose of the hybrid engine In the initial stages of developing the engine, it was used to send small rockets into the Earth’s orbit. The company now plans to work with private businesses and governments that send small satellites to outer space. The 3D-printed hybrid engine makes launching rockets into space much easier and safer. Just as many other companies that have been using 3D-printing to make the world a better place, Rocket Crafters have managed to change the future of rockets completely. This means that rocket travel will be much more accessible. The new technology now seeks to bring the cost of more sustainable rocketing to a record low. Hybrid engines are greener The most impressive aspect of the new hybrid engines is that they are better for the environment. Traditionally, solid-fueled engines would emit heavy carbon waste into the atmosphere . Due to such effects of solid-fueled engines, there has been pressure for more rocket manufacturers to turn to liquid-fueled engines, which are greener. Liquid-fueled engines are propelled by liquid hydrogen, which produces water vapor exhaust. But the production of hydrogen itself can also cause significant pollution. The end game for rocket manufactures turns out to be hybrid engines — something that Rocket Crafters hopes to make as safe and sustainable as possible. + Rocket Crafters Image via Unsplash

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Effects of COVID-19 lead to increased deaths of Florida manatees

July 1, 2020 by  
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While many species are enjoying a break from humans during the pandemic, Florida’s manatee death rate is up this year. Increased boating activity, rollbacks on emission caps and delays in environmental improvements all put these defenseless giants in the crosshairs. “There are several troubling factors coming together during the pandemic,” Patrick Rose, an aquatic biologist and executive director of the nonprofit Save the Manatee Club , told The Guardian . “Manatees were already facing accelerated habitat loss, rising fatalities from boat collisions and less regulatory protection. With COVID, we’re seeing manatees at an increased risk, both from policies that undermine environmental standards and from irresponsible outdoor activity, such as boaters ignoring slow-speed zones.” Related: Conservationists in Florida are making the ultimate effort to protect manatees from tourism Now with pandemic-related problems, manatee deaths were up almost 20% for April through May compared with 2019 figures. June exceeded the five-year death average. However, officials haven’t been able to establish causes for all manatee deaths because the Fish & Wildlife Commission isn’t doing necropsy — the word for “autopsy” when performed on animals — during the pandemic . Some manatees have undoubtedly been killed or injured by boat collisions. According to Rose, boat ramps remained open in March when other recreational options closed, leading to an uptick in dangerous boating activity. Slow-moving manatees often fail to get out of the way of boats. Injuries are so frequent that researchers tell the animals apart by their scar patterns. Regulatory changes also threaten manatee habitats. The marine mammals, which are most closely related to elephants, will reap the consequences of the EPA’s decision to suspend water and air pollution monitoring requirements during the pandemic. COVID-19 is also delaying environmental initiatives. In-person meetings have been postponed, including talks about providing more warm-water manatee habitat by breaching the Ocklawaha River dam. “We’ve lost tens of thousands of acres of seagrass over the past decade,” Rose said. “The power plants, which currently supply artificial warm water , will also be closing in the coming years, making our fight to protect natural warm springs habitat all the more critical.” Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

May 18, 2020 by  
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Farmers are burying onions, destroying tomatoes and grinding up heads of lettuce to return to the soil. Dairy workers are dumping milk. These images of food destruction have horrified Americans during the pandemic . Farmers shouldn’t have to destroy the crops they’ve poured their money, energy, time and strength into. Hungry people shouldn’t witness the destruction of food that they could cook for their families. But farmers and organizations are working to save this food and bring it to those in need. COVID-19 has hurt people in many ways, but the food supply chain has been hit especially hard. Since restaurants, hotels, schools and cruise ships have shut down, farmers have lost about 40% of their customer base on average. Some farms have lost their main outlets. For example, RC Hatton Farms in Florida has had to disk — that is, grind up and recycle into the soil — hundreds of acres of cabbage since the crop has lost its future as KFC slaw. Related: How to volunteer during COVID-19 Meanwhile, with the U.S. unemployment rate stretching toward 15% , more Americans could make use of those crops. The question is, how can the food supply chains be rerouted before all of the vegetables and milk spoil? Worldwide food insecurity may double this year because of COVID-19. In relatively affluent America, people are waiting in line for hours to get to food pantries. Fortunately, the world is full of clever and helpful people. From individuals to large organizations, people are devising ways to redistribute food to those who need it. From farms to food banks Food banks are nonprofit organizations that store food donated from retailers, restaurants, grocery stores and individuals. This food is then distributed to food pantries, where people can take home food to eat. Food pantries provide millions of free meals per year. With their restaurant and institutional clients closed by COVID-19, more farmers are trying to donate crops straight to food banks. But donation doesn’t come free. While most farmers would vastly prefer to donate their vegetables than to let them rot in fields, those crops don’t harvest themselves. Nor do they pack themselves for shipping or drive to the nearest food bank. Some states are working hard to facilitate getting crops to the people. At the end of April, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $3.64 million expansion to the state’s Farm to Family program. By the end of the year, he expects this campaign to reach $15 million. The Farm to Family program is a partnership between the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Association of Food Banks. The USDA has approved redirecting $2 million in unused Specialty Crop Block Grant funds to the California Association of Food Banks. This will help cover costs of picking, packing and transporting the produce to food banks. “Putting food on the table during this pandemic is hard for families on the brink,” Newsom said in a press release. “It’s in that spirit that we’re expanding our Farm to Family program while also working to connect low-income families with vital resources and financial support. We thank our farmers for stepping up to donate fresh produce to our food banks . And we want families struggling to access food to know we have your backs.” In New Mexico, the state chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) launched its own Farm to Foodbank program. The group will fund farmers to continue producing organic produce, which will be routed to food pantries. AFSC is also helping farmers buy supplies, such as seeds, masks, gloves and irrigation systems. In return, the farmers sign contracts promising produce to community members suffering from food insecurity. For example, farmers at Acoma Pueblo requested seeds and promised to donate a part of their crops to the senior center. Help from private companies Some companies are also assisting in moving surplus crops to food banks. Florida-based Publix Super Markets has long been donating food to Feeding America’s member food banks and other nonprofits. In the last 10 years, Publix has donated about $2 billion worth of food, or 480 million pounds. Now, the supermarket chain is stepping up its efforts and buying unsold fresh milk and produce from Florida and regional producers and donating these goods to Feeding America food banks. “As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Todd Jones, chief executive officer of Publix, told NPR . Other supermarket chains have announced large monetary donations to food banks during the pandemic, including $50 million from Albertsons. Kroger Co. set up a $10 million Emergency COVID-19 Response Fund. To celebrate Earth Day , Natural Grocers donated $50,000 in gift cards to food banks. Individual giving Some farmers have taken direct action to get their crops to families. Idaho potato farmer Ryan Cranney invited the public to help themselves to his millions of unsold potatoes. “At first I thought we’d have maybe 20 people,” Cranney said in an interview . He was amazed when thousands of people drove to his town, with a population of 700, and hauled away potatoes. “We saw people from as far away as Las Vegas, which is an 8-hour drive from here,” he said. Of course, most of us don’t have millions of potatoes to spare. But we can still help food banks. In better times, food banks appreciate shelf-stable foods like peanut butter and tomato paste. But right now, the best thing you can do as an individual is to give money. Feeding America, the biggest hunger relief organization in the U.S, has about 200 member food banks. If you’re able to spare a few dollars, you can donate to its COVID-19 Response Fund . Via CBS 8 , Santa Fe New Mexican and Politico Images via Philippe Collard , Hai Nguyen , U.S. Department of Agriculture and Dennis Sparks

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Florida Aquarium captures baby coral breakthrough on video

April 28, 2020 by  
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The Florida Aquarium announced a breakthrough that may help save America’s Great Barrier Reef. Scientists at the Tampa-based aquarium have successfully reproduced ridged cactus coral for the first time. A video captures the tiny baby  corals  looking like undersea fairy lights as they take their first and only swim beyond the reef. Since a major  disease  outbreak attacked Florida’s coral reefs in 2014, scientists from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA Fisheries have rescued corals and moved them into labs. Florida Aquarium scientists are caring for adult coral colonies, coaxing them to breed and reproduce in the hopes of eventually restoring the diseased reefs. In the course of this rescue mission, scientists are discovering new info on coral biology, including the timing of babies and what coral larvae look like. “This breakthrough is just really exciting; we’re still learning basic new things you’d think we’ve known for hundreds of years,” said senior coral scientist Keri O’Neil. “It’s just people never worked with this  species  before and now that we have the opportunity to work with these corals in the lab, we’re going to find out so much more about them.” Ridged cactus corals are a type of brooding coral. This means they reproduce by releasing sperm into the water. Eggs within the parent coral are fertilized, and larvae develop. When the coral babies are sufficiently formed, the parent corals spit them into the water. The babies swim until they find a good spot on the  reef . Then they settle down for life.  This video  shows the phenomenon. Florida has the world’s third-largest barrier reef ecosystem. Often called “America’s Great Barrier Reef,” it extends from St. Lucie Inlet, north of Miami, to the Dry Tortugas, west of the Florida Keys. About two-thirds of the reef tract is within Biscayne National Park and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Reproducing ridged cactus coral is the latest in a series of coral breakthroughs at the Florida Aquarium. Last year scientists at the aquarium had the world’s first success at making a group of coral reproduce two days in a row. The aquarium is partnering with London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens in Project Coral, a program aimed at repopulating the world’s reefs. “With the success of this project, as a scientist, I now know that every year for the foreseeable future we can spawn Florida pillar corals in the laboratory and continue our work trying to rebuild the populations,” said O’Neil. + CNN Images via Pexels

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Take a virtual dive with NOAA

April 22, 2020 by  
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NOAA has released a series of virtual dives to keep stay-at-homers entertained,  educated  and interested in the undersea world even when everybody’s stuck on the couch. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration takes viewers deep into national marine sanctuaries, revealing sights non- divers have likely never seen. The creators used 360-degree images to show off  corals , sea creatures and the undersea habitat. You can virtually visit these sanctuaries on your personal computer or smartphone. For more fun, pair your device with virtual reality goggles or a headset. Sanctuaries available for VR visits include American Samoa, the Florida Keys, Flower Garden Banks off Galveston, Texas, Gray’s Reef in Georgia, Monterey Bay, the Olympic Coast in Washington state, Stellwagen Bank in  Maine and Thunder Bay in Michigan. Each sanctuary offers a handful of dives to choose from featuring different types of sea life. A sea lion-focused dive was filmed in California’s Channel Islands. The virtual dives feature something for a wide variety of interests. You can get up close to a huge barrel sponge at Flower Gardens, or watch marine invertebrates called tunicates duke it out with orange cup corals in a turf war for the rocky substrate of  Washington’s Tatoosh Island. Those more intrigued by human drama can check out the remains of the  Paul Palmer,  a coal schooner built in 1902 that now lies atop Stellwagen Bank. Maybe it shouldn’t have started that final voyage on Friday the 13th, 1913. These 360-degree photos allow visitors to view spots within sanctuaries from every angle, almost as if you were turning your head to see what’s over yonder. Divers with special cameras take the underwater photos, which are then edited together.  NOAA plans to add to the gallery as divers take more shots. This collaboration between NOAA and the  Ocean Agency , a nonprofit ad agency that focuses on the sea, will open underwater doors for parents suddenly thrust into the role of home school teachers. + NOAA Images via Pexels

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