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USA: Miami Port Expansion to Destroy Coral Reefs?

Miami prepares to dredge its port to accommodate supersize freighters As Miami prepares to dredge its port to accommodate supersize freighters, environmentalists are making a last-ditch effort to protect threatened coral reefs and acres of sea grass that they say would be destroyed by the expansion. The number of successful piracy attacks on ships off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden has decreased this year leading to fears that there will be an escalation in violence against seafarers.

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Geographic analysis offers new insight into coral disease spread

Coral disease due to stress response from ocean pollution and climate change In the last 30 years, more than 90 percent of the reef-building coral responsible for maintaining major marine habitats and providing a natural barrier against hurricanes in the Caribbean has disappeared because of a disease of unknown origin.Now a University of Florida geographer and his colleagues applied Geographic Information Systems, known as GIS - as well as software previously used to examine human illness - to show where clusters of diseased coral exist. Their findings, published this month in the journal PLoS One, may help scientists derive better hypotheses to determine what contributes to coral disintegration."What you'll find is that spatial techniques have been used relatively little in the coral research community," said paper co-author Jason Blackburn, a UF professor of geography and member of UF's Emerging Pathogens Institute. "With these methods, we gain a better understanding of the disease's distribution across the reef."Microbiologists and toxicologists often run laboratory tests on small samples of Acropora species of coral to determine the factors that contribute to white-band disease, known as WBD. It's visually identified as a white band moving from the base of the coral up, killing the coral ...

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Canadian environmentalists call for stronger ocean protection measures

People should view ocean protection as a way of life Alarmed by last year's serious oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and a leak into the sea of highly radioactive water from Japan's crippled nuclear reactors, some Canadian environmentalists are calling for greater steps to be taken to protect the world's oceans.At an event to promote the upcoming World Ocean Day on Wednesday at Blackie Spit Park in Surrey in Canada's British Columbia, about a dozen open-air tents were set up around the park providing information on marine and bird life, habitat enhancement, water quality, pesticide usage, as well as plant life of the marine variety.The theme of this year's World Oceans Day is "Youth: the next wave of change," with the aim of getting young people to view the protection of the oceans as a way of life.Yvonne Dawydiak, a volunteer coordinator for the Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society, patrons of an area that is part of the Fraser River Estuary and an important feeding ground for migratory shorebirds, said kids were the best resource for getting the conservation message across."Our oceans are under more and more pressure from development, from pollution, and overfishing, ... and young children ...

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