Why there are reasons to be optimistic about coral reefs

Let's not kid ourselves: Coral reefs are in serious danger. But numerous ambitious projects are underway with the goal of keeping these ecosystems alive.

Photo by Olga Tsai on Unsplash
  • Human activity has made it a serious possibility that coral reefs might cease to exist on Earth.
  • It's tempting to give into despair over this prospect, but assuming the game is over already doesn't reflect objective reality.
  • There is an increasing amount of research and work going into keeping coral reefs alive. Coupled with a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the next generation stands a chance of growing up in a world with coral reefs.
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These 9 U.S. biodiversity hotspots urgently need protection

Project to map global 'species richness' highlights the variety of biodiversity itself

Image courtesy of Clinton Jenkins
  • Biodiversity is essential for ecosystems – and humanity – to survive
  • These maps show the diversity of biodiversity itself: the hotspots are all over the place
  • Compounding U.S. biodiversity data produces a list of 9 'Recommended Priority Areas', most in need of protection
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Has Jurassic Park fostered misunderstanding about extinction?

While the blockbuster franchise might have given us a distorted view of science's capabilities to address species extinction, new research might come close to "resurrecting" lost species' DNA.

Image source: Universal / Getty Images
  • Jurassic Park has fueled public misconceptions about science's abilities to bring extinct species back to life.
  • De-extinction technology can resurrect genetic material from extinct species into their living relatives in a way that can assist conservation efforts.
  • Fostering empathy for other-than-human lives through stories might be the key to addressing the current ecological catastrophe.
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In historic deal, Gabon to get $150 million to protect its forests

Norway plans to pay Gabon $150 million to protect its vast network of rainforests.

Image source: Axel Rouvin via Flickr
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NASA camera captures Amazon fires

Satellite movie shows clouds of carbon monoxide drifting over South America.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • The Amazon fires were captured by the AIRS camera on the Aqua satellite.
  • A movie clip released by NASA shows a huge cloud of CO drifting across the continent.
  • Fortunately, carbon monoxide at this altitude has little effect on air quality.
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