bleached coral

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A Breakthrough for Coral Reef Restoration   

Dr. David Vaughan is working to combat the crisis in the world’s coral reefs—that is, that humans have lost 25 to 40 percent of the world’s corals in recent decades due largely to seawater temperature rise and ocean acidification.

Vaughan has developed a game-changing technique called “micro-fragmenting” that allows corals to grow more than 25 times faster than normal, which could rapidly restore the dwindling population of healthy coral reefs. The Atlantic visited Dr. Vaughan in the Florida Keys to uncover how the process works and understand how much hope there is to revitalize our reefs.

Author: Sam Price-Waldman

via: The Atlantic

It’s Sunscreen Season!

Beach season is upon us, Northern Hemisphere! We wish you sun-filled, happy days, and healthy, sunburn-free skin! Here are some tips for choosing a sunscreen for your summer.

Sunlight is composed of electromagnetic waves and is our primary source of ultraviolet radiation, which has a shorter wavelength than visible light and carries more energy. UVA, UVB, and UVC are classified according to their wavelengths. Short wavelength UVC never reaches the Earth’s surface, but UVB and UVA do Medium wavelength UVB rays can enter the skin’s superficial layers and long length UVA rays can penetrate into the deeper layers. UVB in small amounts actually helps us make vitamin D, which enables our bodies to build and maintain strong bones. However, prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB can damage DNA, age your skin, and promote the development of potentially deadly skin cancer. Sunscreen protects your skin either physically by deflecting UV rays with an inorganic blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or chemically by using carbon-based compounds to absorb UV photons that are then harmlessly dissipated as heat.

So, what differentiates one sunscreen from another? When we choose a sunscreen, we can compare application method, the SPF, and the active ingredients. Sprays can be convenient to put on, especially when you’re wet, but a recent study found that most people don’t apply a thick enough layer to get full protection. And the possible health risks of inhaling sunscreen compounds from a spray cloud might make you consider reaching for that bottle of lotion instead. Opt for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, although 30 is better. SPF is a nonlinear scale of how much UVB radiation is needed to give protected skin a sunburn. SPF 15 does a pretty good job by blocking 93% of UVB rays. You get a slight increase as SPF goes up, with SPF 30 blocking 97%, and 50 blocking 98%. SPF is based on the quantity of solar exposure. So how much time you have before you start to burn really depends on a long list of factors, including your genetics, and when, where, and how you spend your time in the sun.

Even though US marketed sunscreens have been deemed safe by the FDA, scientists are still researching the effects of many active ingredients on the human body. So if you’re worried about potential irritants, look for mineral-based formulas with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Even though they may go on a bit thick at first, they’re less irritating than carbon-based chemical sunscreens. These mineral-based sunscreens are preferential for the environment, too. If you plan on catching rays while splashing in a river or the ocean, keep in mind that carbon-based chemical sunscreens can harm marine life. Research shows that carbon-based chemical sunscreen ingredients, like oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate, and 4MBC contribute to a stress condition called coral bleaching in corals, which are living creatures. 

So you’re now ready to make an informed choice when picking out your next sunscreen. SPF is clearly labeled on the front. On the back under “active ingredients,” you can find whether zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and those coral-harming components are present. Taking a bit more time to check can be well worth it for both you and the environment.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Which sunscreen should you choose? - Mary Poffenroth with animation by Rob Kohr & Travis Spangler

Additional artwork & info from the TED-Ed lesson Why do we have to wear sunscreen? - Kevin Boyd with animation by Andrew Foerster

Studies are showing that climate change could kill thousands — or even millions — by 2100

  • Drowning polar bears or bleached coral reefs might not alarm everyone, but climate change’s ability to cause thousands (or even millions) of human deaths in the near future should worry you. Two recent studies are projecting doomsday-esque results if global warming continues to go unrestricted.
  • As the world heats up, large portions of our planet could find themselves in further danger. In some parts of South Asia, a region where one-fifth of the world’s population lives, humidity and heat are projected to “exceed the upper limit of human survivability” by the end of the 21st century, according to one study released Wednesday. That basically means that the some parts of South Asia’s tropical climate will cross over into deadly temperatures before 2100, if scientists are forecasting correctly.

  • “The increase in humid heat raises important questions of environmental justice in agricultural areas where the inhabitants — the majority of whom work outdoors and have poor access to air conditioning — are most vulnerable,” the study’s release explains. Heat waves are already causing massive death tolls: In 2015, for example, about 3,500 people died during heat waves across India and Pakistan. Now, scientists are basically saying it may only get worse from here. Read more. (8/2/2017 2:04 PM)
Do you care about our planet?

The animal industry has done a really good job of paying off the right people to keep their mouths shut about their role in hurting our planet, because everyone only talks about cars and light bulbs.

However, animal agriculture is the number one cause of:

• greenhouse gases
• habitat loss/deforestation
• species extinction
• ocean acidification
• ocean dead zones
• coral bleaching
• climate change
• water shortages
• desertification

Earth Day is meant to celebrate the earth and bring awareness to how much we need to protect it. So in light of that, today would be a great day to go vegan!

Every day a vegan can save:

• 1100 gallons/~4167 litres of water
• 30 square feet/~2.8 sq meters of forest
• 45 pounds/~20kg of grains
• 20 lbs/9 kg of CO2 emissions
• 1 animal’s life

It’s one of the single most effective things you can do for our planet, and you can’t go fully vegan, it’s still helpful to cut back whenever you can. If anyone has any questions at all please don’t hesitate to message me.

Please leave all animal products off your plate, not just for the sake of animals and yourself, but for our entire planet. Happy Earth Day!

This bleached coral appears as white due to damage done to the Zooxanthellae (zoo-zan-thel-ay) with which it has a mutual symbiotic relationship.
Zooxanthellae are actually responsible for giving corals their vibrant colors. They are unicellular algae that live within the hard coral.
Corals are unable to generate sufficient amounts of food, so they utilize the algae’s ability to photosynthesize and convert chemical elements into energy to supply them with the energy they need. In turn, the coral offers the algae a protected, nutrient-rich place to grow.
When coral is bleached, it means that the Zooxanthellae that lived within it has died; this, in turn, means that the coral will die.

Most people are on board with stopping coral bleaching, but few are willing to take steps needed to slow climate change.

Corals are being bleached and dying because of shifts of increasing temperature in our oceans. The cause of these shifts is from global warming, and the largest contributor to global warming is animal agriculture. It really can be as simple as not eating animals to help save the coral, the oceans, and all of the ocean’s inhabitants, but people are literally willing to let 2/3 of our earth die because they don’t want to stop eating cows, pigs, and chickens. 

That blows my mind.

Watch on the-earth-story.com

Parrotfish on a coral reef in the Maldives (based on the pale color I think some of the coral heads in the early part of this clip have been bleached)

independent.co.uk
Great Barrier Reef cannot be saved
The Great Barrier Reef – a canary in the coal mine for global warming – can no longer be saved in its present form partly because of the “extraordinary rapidity” of climate change, experts have conceded. Instead, action should be taken to maintain the World Heritage Site's 'ecological function' as its ecological health declines, they reportedly recommended.
reuters.com
Scientists record biggest ever coral die-off on Australia's Great Barrier Reef
While bleaching occurs naturally, scientists are concerned that rising sea temperatures caused by global warming magnifies the damage, leaving sensitive underwater ecosystems unable to recover.

Warm seas around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have killed two-thirds of a 700-km (435 miles) stretch of coral in the past nine months, the worst die-off ever recorded on the World Heritage site, scientists who surveyed the reef said on Tuesday.

Their finding of the die-off in the reef’s north is a major blow for tourism at reef which, according to a 2013 Deloitte Access Economics report, attracts about A$5.2 billion ($3.9 billion) in spending each year.

“The coral is essentially cooked,” professor Andrew Baird, a researcher at James Cook University who was part of the reef surveys, told Reuters by telephone from Townsville in Australia’s tropical north.

He said the die-off was “almost certainly” the largest ever recorded anywhere because of the size of the Barrier Reef, which at 348,000 sq km (134,400 sq miles) is the biggest coral reef in the world.

Continue Reading.

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BLEACHING AFFECTS 93% OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

Aerial checks of more than 900 individual reefs showed the spread varies dramatically along its 2,300 kilometres, from 90 per cent north of Port Douglas to less than 10 per cent south of Mackay.  

Coral bleaching is when abnormal environmental conditions cause coral to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae. Loss of colourful algae causes coral to turn white and “bleach” -Bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and zooxanthellae are able to recolonise them, otherwise it may die.

The Great Barrier Reef has been threatened with mass bleaching due to weather conditions El Niño and the rapid climate change. 

The southern third of the Great Barrier Reef fortunately cooled down late in summer due to ex-cyclone Winston. Researchers expect the central and southern corals to regain their colour and recover over the next few months

"Save the reef, eat lionfish!"

OR, save the reef, stop polluting them with your fucking livestock and causing dead zones, fishing to extinction, and bleaching coral and acidifying the oceans with the methane emissions from your fucking livestock.

Omfg Pauline Hanson saying she’s fed up with being tolerant but I’m struggling to think of an instance where she has actually been tolerant. Show me the receipts Pauline. Why must PH continue to be the bane of my state and existence? 

Don’t even get me started on denying the effects of climate change  BY VISITING HEALTHY AREAS OF THE REEF TO REFUTE THE DAMAGE CORAL BLEACHING HAS DONE. WOOOOOW. It’s almost like if you visit an area unaffected by environmental damage you’re not going to see any fucking environmental damage.

smh.

/rant over

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The massive bleaching hitting the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is likely that country’s “biggest ever environmental disaster,” says Dr. Justin Marshall, who has studied the reef for three decades.

Only 7 percent of the reef has escaped bleaching, according to researchers at the ARC Center of Excellence. Marshall, a professor at the University of Queensland, says the destructive phenomenon is happening in an area the size of Scotland.

“Before this mass bleaching started, we already were at the point of losing 50% of the coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef. This, I think, will probably take another 50% off what was left,” Marshall says.

Over the course of the last six months, Marshall and his colleagues with the citizen science project Coral Watch have documented the degradation of reef structures near Lizard Island, one of the worst-hit areas.

They photographed the same formations of coral multiple times, showing clearly the pace of the destruction.

“It was a beautiful, wonderful paradise of reef structure and animals, and it’s not there anymore. Or it is — but it’s a slime ball, it’s a gloomy place,” Marshall says.

New Photos Show The Rapid Pace Of Great Barrier Reef Bleaching

Photos, from top: Photo (1) shows healthy coral. It’s then seen bleached (2). Photo (3) shows dead coral with a film of algae, which grows thicker in photo (4). The ominous final photo in the series shows bleached coral near Lizard Island showing heavy algal overgrowth. All photos by CoralWatch.