Baby Coral Deaths Threaten the Great Barrier Reef’s Recovery

(Bloomberg) — The mass death of young and old corals in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is threatening the recovery of the largest living structure on Earth. 

underwater view of a coral: An undated handout photo received from the ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies on October 14, 2020 shows a damaged part of the Great Barrier Reef - the vast World Heritage-listed reef off Australia's northeastern coast.

© Bloomberg
An undated handout photo received from the ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies on October 14, 2020 shows a damaged part of the Great Barrier Reef – the vast World Heritage-listed reef off Australia’s northeastern coast.

The bleaching of corals off Australia’s northeastern coast due to ocean warming and acidification is happening across all species and to specimens of all ages, according to a new study that analyzed coral demographics. The study, led by Andy Dietzel at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia, confirmed the Great Barrier Reef lost half its corals between 1995 and 2017.

“We measured changes in colony sizes because population studies are important for understanding demography and the corals’ capacity to

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This ‘squidbot’ jets around and takes pics of coral and fish — ScienceDaily

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have built a squid-like robot that can swim untethered, propelling itself by generating jets of water. The robot carries its own power source inside its body. It can also carry a sensor, such as a camera, for underwater exploration.

The researchers detail their work in a recent issue of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.

“Essentially, we recreated all the key features that squids use for high-speed swimming,” said Michael T. Tolley, one of the paper’s senior authors and a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego. “This is the first untethered robot that can generate jet pulses for rapid locomotion like the squid and can achieve these jet pulses by changing its body shape, which improves swimming efficiency.”

This squid robot is made mostly from soft materials such as acrylic polymer, with a few rigid, 3D printed

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Acropora spp. coral still thrives in the holdout refuge of Coral Gardens, Belize — ScienceDaily

Coral Gardens Reef in Belize remains a refuge for Acropora spp. coral despite widespread devastation in other areas of the western North Atlantic/Caribbean, according to a study published September 30, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Lisa Greer from Washington and Lee University, Virginia, USA, and colleagues.

Once a key coral species providing the architectural framework for sprawling coral reef structures across the tropical western North Atlantic/Caribbean region, Acropora spp. coral populations have dramatically declined since the 1950s, and are now increasingly rare. Understanding the resilience and longevity of the remaining Acropora reefs in this area is critical to conservation efforts.

In order to test whether one of the largest populations of extant Acropora cervicornis in the western Caribbean was recently established (post-1980s) or a longer-lived, stable population, the authors collected 232 samples of premodern and recently dead A. cervicornis coral skeleton material across 3 sites at Coral

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Reef: Regenerating and reboosting coral

Sometimes dubbed “the rainforests of the sea” coral reefs make up less than 0.2% of the ocean floor but are home to 25% of all marine species.

Human activity and global warming mean these unique and fragile ecosystems are under threat. In partnership with Qatar University and France-based marine biodiversity company Seaboost, Total is working on an innovative solution inspired by nature, to restore degraded coral.

“Degradation is a really serious problem, it requires urgent intervention and REEF is a contribution to that,” says Philippe Blanc, who heads up Total’s Marine Ecosystems Environmental Monitoring and Restoration R&D work.

A solution inspired by nature

Total’s R&D teams are aiming to cement their ambition as the responsible energy major, seeking out environmental mitigation solutions wherever possible. The REEF venture sees them developing artificial reefs and finding new structures and materials that encourage the recolonization of degraded ones.

© Total

REEF structures are

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