The Blue Files | Episode 7

[As appeared in Episode 7]

Soothing Sounds

British and Australian researchers believe they may have discovered a new way to help restore dying ocean reefs – by using sound. In a six-week field experiment, scientists placed underwater loudspeakers throughout patches of dead coral along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and played audio recordings taken from healthy reefs. 

Stephen D. Simpson, a marine biology professor at the University of Exeter and a senior author of the study says, “Healthy coral reefs are remarkably noisy places — the crackle of snapping shrimp and the whoops and grunts of fish combine to form a dazzling biological soundscape”. The experiment proved positive, with an increase of fish in the struggling reefs, of 50 per cent!

The “sound” therapy is just one of the many efforts that are being developed to help degraded reefs around the world. In the Caribbean, researchers are also cultivating coral “nurseries” so they can eventually re-implant the fresh coral where needed.

Air Pollution and Alzheimer’s 

An alarming new study reveals that air pollution may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. The research, led by the University of Southern California focused on women in their 70’s and 80’s and concluded that those who were exposed to more polluted air than clean air, suffered from higher-intensity memory problems. This study backs up previous evidence that tiny polluting particles carried by dirty air can enter the brain, possibly contributing to cognitive decline.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that nine in 10 people worldwide breathe highly polluted air, contributing to millions of deaths each year.  

This is yet another major impact to our planet, that we will continue to follow on the big blue marble podcast.

Oh Potted Christmas Tree

With a Christmas tree shortage across the United States, there has been a surge in the use of rent-a-tree services. For a fee, a live, potted Christmas tree is delivered directly to your home or business.

One Oregon-based company, which claims to be the first to offer the concept almost 30 years ago, says that when they first started in 1992 they had just over 2- dozen rental orders. Over the last several years, Christmas orders have skyrocketed to over 400 each holiday.  The company adds that thousands of the potted trees are now thriving in various watersheds across Oregon. The goal, instead of shredding the trees after Christmas, is to see the potted variety planted to provide years of ecological benefits.

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