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Hot oceans, underwater Sentinel and music to help corals

The current ocean heatwaves, characterized by high ocean water temperatures, have been happening for two consecutive years now. Scientists warn that this may result in a significant alteration of the Earth’s systems that could be irreversible. In the Atlantic basin, sea surface temperatures have risen by 1-2°C compared to the baseline from 1971-2000. Satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that the anomaly in the waters off the coast of South Africa, Japan, and the Netherlands is three °C or more. The World Meteorological Organization predicts that by 2023, the waters of the eastern part of the North Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the North Pacific, and large areas of the Southern Ocean will warm even more significantly.

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute have made a groundbreaking discovery in the US Virgin Islands. They found that playing the sounds of a healthy coral reef through underwater speakers, particularly blooming coral, can stimulate a degraded reef to regenerate. This discovery could revolutionize the field of coral reef conservation. Coral larvae were up to seven times more likely to settle on a degraded coral reef when recordings of the crackling, groaning, grunting, and scratching sounds that accompany a healthy ecosystem were played. Half of the coral reefs have disappeared since the 1950s, including as a result of warming ocean waters.

The British company DEEP is constructing the Sentinel system, an underwater territory that will enable scientists to stay permanently under the water’s surface. Scientists will be able to live and work underwater at a depth of up to 200 meters for 28 days without interruption. Sentinel is modular, scalable, autonomous, reconfigurable, and reusable.

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