Corals Come Back To Life In Marine Protected Areas
The world’s coral reefs – which have been around for about 50,000 years – represent a critical treasure trove not only of Earth’s precious remaining biodiversity, but also of potential undiscovered medical solutions hidden in nature’s cloth. But agricultural runoff and climate change are taking a heavy toll: our coral reefs are bleaching and dying, and could vanish entirely by 2110 or sooner.
Vincent Pieribone, assistant professor of neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine, recently told Big Think that in his lifetime – from childhood recreational ocean dives in the Florida Keys to recent research dives in Australia – he has literally watched the world’s coral reefs disappear. “They’re getting destroyed faster than rainforests,” he said, “but no one really knows it because you don’t see them.”
But researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have some good news from the deep. In an analysis of 8,534 live coral cover surveys conducted all over the world between 1969 and 2006, two brainy Ph.Ds found that in marine protected areas (MPAs), where fishing and other disruptive activities are monitored and limited to protect ecosystems and marine life, coral die off patterns not only slow down but even actually go into reverse.
“We found that, on average, coral cover in protected areas remained constant, but declined on unprotected reefs,” said the study’s lead author.
Studying coral reefs, though, is apparently an exercise in delaying gratification. Results don’t show until long after protection efforts have been put into place in a particular area – as many as 14 years later, in fact, in one Caribbean study.
The wait is worth it. Once results start showing, and corals start getting the color back in their cheeks, they seem to do so heartily. According to the UNC researchers, coral cover in protected areas increased by 0.05 to 0.08 percent between 2004 and 2005, but decreased in unprotected areas by 0.41 to 0.43 percent. The study’s authors – no surprise here – believe that their findings should encourage the establishment of more MPAs around the world, before it’s too late.
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
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