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Oceans: Coral Seas

This month on Newsdesk: artificial clouds help protect coral, regenerated land and jaguars reintroduced into Argentina.

Artificial Clouds Help Protect Coral

Stretching along the coastline of northeastern Australia the unique marine ecosystem is home to hundreds of fish species. Made up of millions of tiny coral, the reef thrives in Australia's warm tropical waters. However, if the water becomes too warm, or too much sunlight reaches the reef, the coral can start to wither and die. This process is called “coral bleaching.”

Now, scientists are working to reduce the effect of the sun's rays on the coral by creating clouds! The scientists have mounted a small turbine on a boat to transform salty seawater into a fine mist. Tiny salt crystals in the mist then drift into the atmosphere, where water vapor collects around them to form clouds. The newly formed clouds reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the water by filtering and reflecting sunlight, protecting the coral, and giving the delicate ecosystem a chance to recover!

Regenerated Land

In the US, the Appalachian mountains were once abundant with wildlife. But over the past 40 years, coal mining has destroyed much of this land, ruining habitats and landscapes, and polluting the soil with toxic chemicals.

Now, a group of West Virginian farmers are transforming part of an old coal mine into a lavender farm. Growing plants on polluted soil isn’t easy. Luckily, lavender is a tough plant that can tolerate this kind of soil. And it’s incredibly useful too. The lavender flower can be used to make body creams, hand sanitisers, and thanks to the flowers, pollinators are busy making their own product: honey! It will take decades to repair the environmental damage caused by coal mining, but if scientists and farmers continue to work together to find new ways to regenerate the land, these regions may start to grow healthy again.

Jaguars Reintroduced Into Argentina

Argentina is a country of stunning natural beauty. However, in recent decades, much of Argentina's biodiversity has been damaged by deforestation and pollution. This has led to many species of animal becoming endangered, and at risk of extinction.

Now, scientists are working to reintroduce several endangered species back to the Argentinian wilderness, including jaguars! Thanks to the reintroduction program, a mother and her two cubs are the first jaguars that have made their home in the region for over 70 years.

Carefully reintroducing species can help restore ecosystems, and thanks to scientists, Argentina’s wildlife is becoming diverse again.

Learn more about coral reefs by watching the Twig Film Oceans: Coral Seas.

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