Bringing corals back from the brink
Assessments have shown that 70 percent of the world’s coral reefs are degraded. A new study shows that it may be possible to restore living coral cover to a degraded reef system by taking advantage of ‘shocks’ like tropical storms or periods of cloudy weather. This is because while these shocks are damaging to coral reefs, they are also damaging to the other organisms that would replace coral. If action is taken swiftly, those shocks could allow coral to regain control of the reef.
Echolocation is a complex process that allows some animals, like bats and dolphins, to detect unseen obstacles and can be used to track down prey. While the end result is similar, echolocation evolved separately in bats and cetaceans. However, new research shows that there are strong genetic similarities between bats and dolphins. By comparing their genomic sequences, researchers found genetic signatures consistent with convergence in nearly 200 different genomic regions. To put that in perspective, the researchers were only expecting to find similarities in about a dozen genes.
Righting the ocean wrongs
The Global Ocean Commission recently launched an online survey that is designed to gather different views on how to reverse the damage we have done to the ocean. The survey will be directed towards people “from every sector of society and every part of the world.” Responses will help the Commission write a plan for ocean restoration that will be published next year. It covers issues such as biodiversity, pollution and illegal fishing. Click here to take the survey! (I just completed it and it took less than 10 minutes!)
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