Coral reef conservation, new research


This 13 August 2018 video says about itself:

Summer Island’s 3D Printed Artificial Coral Reef

The Edition explores how 3D technology may bring ‘summers’ of hope to coral reefs in the Maldives, drowning amidst seas of neglect.

From the University of Cambridge in England:

3D-printed corals could improve bioenergy and help coral reefs

April 9, 2020

Researchers from Cambridge University and University of California San Diego have 3D printed coral-inspired structures that are capable of growing dense populations of microscopic algae. Their results, reported in the journal Nature Communications, open the door to new bio-inspired materials and their applications for coral conservation.

In the ocean, corals and algae have an intricate symbiotic relationship. The coral provides a host for the algae, while the algae produce sugars to the coral through photosynthesis. This relationship is responsible for one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth, the coral reef.

“Corals are highly efficient at collecting and using light,” said first author Dr Daniel Wangpraseurt, a Marie Curie Fellow from Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry. “In our lab, we’re looking for methods to copy and mimic these strategies from nature for commercial applications.”

Wangpraseurt and his colleagues 3D printed coral structures and used them as incubators for algae growth. They tested various types of microalgae and found growth rates were 100x higher than in standard liquid growth mediums.

To create the intricate structures of natural corals, the researchers used a rapid 3D bioprinting technique originally developed for the bioprinting of artificial liver cells.

The coral-inspired structures were highly efficient at redistributing light, just like natural corals. Only biocompatible materials were used to fabricate the 3D printed bionic corals.

“We developed an artificial coral tissue and skeleton with a combination of polymer gels and hydrogels doped with cellulose nanomaterials to mimic the optical properties of living corals,” said Dr Silvia Vignolini, who led the research. “Cellulose is an abundant biopolymer; it is excellent at scattering light and we used it to optimise delivery of light into photosynthetic algae.”

The team used an optical analogue to ultrasound, called optical coherence tomography, to scan living corals and utilise the models for their 3D printed designs. The custom-made 3D bioprinter uses light to print coral micro-scale structures in seconds. The printed coral copies natural coral structures and light-harvesting properties, creating an artificial host-microenvironment for the living microalgae.

“By copying the host microhabitat, we can also use our 3D bioprinted corals as a model system for the coral-algal symbiosis, which is urgently needed to understand the breakdown of the symbiosis during coral reef decline,” said Wangpraseurt. “There are many different applications for our new technology. We have recently created a company, called mantaz, that uses coral-inspired light-harvesting approaches to cultivate algae for bioproducts in developing countries. We hope that our technique will be scalable so it can have a real impact on the algal biosector and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for coral reef death.”

Simar nature reserve in Malta


This 9 April 2020 video from Malta says about itself:

Integrated Science Fieldwork at Simar Nature Reserve

An Integrated Science Fieldwork virtual lesson for Year 7 (Form 1) students at Simar Nature Reserve. This video will help students do the fieldwork from their home [now that there is the coronavirus crisis].

British Conservative Johnson in hospital, nurse reacts


This 5 April 2020 video says about itself:

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital after showing persistent symptoms of the coronavirus for 10 days.

Johnson tested positive for the virus on March 27.

Now that Johnson is in hospital: it might happen that a nurse, overworked after years of austerity and privatisation by Mr Johnson’s Conservatives with some help of Thatcherite Liberal Democrats and Thatcherite Blairites; a nurse with no coronavirus personal protective equipment because of the lack of governmental anti-pandemic policies, stands at Johnson’s bedside.

Johnson: ‘I feel hellish pain’.

The nurse: ‘Already?’

Simar nature reserve in Malta, video


This 3 April 2020 video, in Maltese with English subtitles, says about itself:

A visit to Simar Nature Reserve

A virtual educational visit to Simar Nature Reserve for Year 3 students. This video will help students do the Social Studies fieldwork from their home. Use these links to download the worksheets:

* Year 3 Social Studies Worksheet, Simar Nature Reserve: https://bit.ly/2UGNpp1

* Year 3 Social Studies Worksheet Għadira Nature Reserve: https://bit.ly/349NS66

This is a temporary service provided by BirdLife Malta due to the COVID-19 situation, and will remain in effect until schools reopen. Once things get back to normal, the fieldwork has to be done in one of BirdLife Malta’s nature reserves or at Lunzjata Valley (for Gozitan schools).

Coronavirus crisis, how wildlife reacts


This 3 April 2020 video says about itself:

Wildlife is Returning to Cities

This video is a treasure sent to us, and we take great pleasure in sharing it with you. It is the bittersweet message that the Earth is sending us… yet again. It is as though we were being sent to our rooms to think about what we’ve done to the world.

“Life can survive without us quite nicely, thank you. But we cannot survive without Life.” – Stuart Scott

This 16 March 2020 video says about itself:

Venice canals run clear again in unexpected silver lining of coronavirus lock-down measures

There have been very few positive stories to come out of the coronavirus crisis, but footage filmed on Monday in Venice is evidence of what a small amount of downtime can do to one of the cities in the world worst hit by over-tourism.

The canals of Venice have made headlines multiple times over the past months due to its inability to cope with over-tourism, massive amounts of cruise ships and pollution.

As Italy went into complete lock-down the coronavirus outbreak halted the influx of tourists to ‘The Floating City’. March would normally see approximately 700,000 tourists arrive. However, footage obtained by Ruptly highlights how in a matter of days Venice‘s canals have began to clear up, fish have returned to the streams and the city’s famous old nickname “La Serenissima” (The very serene one) is once again relevant.

Clearing the canals of ferries, gondolas, motor-boats and the waste that comes from their engines, as well as water buses has had an undeniable impact on the local environment and will reignite the discussion of over-tourism in the city once the coronavirus crisis reaches its end and normality resumes. If any good can come of an international crisis such as the one we currently live in, one can only hope that images such as these will push governments towards establishing a better balance between tourism and the environment.

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region, one of Italy’s worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Veneto is currently reporting 2,473 cases of coronavirus with 70 deaths thus far. In total Italy has been Europe’s worst-hit region with 27,980 cases and 2,158 deaths to date.

Wetlands, vital for life


This 31 March 2020 video says about itself:

What are wetlands? | WWT

If rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the lifeblood. They’re essential for all life. Their beautiful landscapes will take your breath away, and their rich variety of wildlife will inspire you.

Wetlands are incredible, but historically we’ve undervalued them. Now they’re disappearing at a rate three times faster than forests.

Explore this amazing yet underrated habitat here.

Greta Thunberg on coronavirus and climate crisis


This 30 March 2020 New Scientist video says about itself:

Greta Thunberg: We must fight the climate crisis and pandemic simultaneously

The world needs to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and climate change simultaneously, and guard against people who try to use the current crisis to delay action cutting carbon emissions, Greta Thunberg explains in this conversation with New Scientist‘s chief reporter, Adam Vaughan.

The Swedish climate activist, who revealed last week that she and her father had likely had Covid-19, said the response to the virus outbreak revealed societal shortcomings, as well as our abilities to change in the face of a crisis, but had proved they can act fast.

“If one virus can wipe out the entire economy in a matter of weeks and shut down societies then that is a proof that our societies are not very resilient. It also shows that once we are in an emergency, we can act and we can change our behaviour quickly”, she says.