Wildlife

Manatee Deaths

A record number of Florida’s protected manatees died during 2021, with the 1,101 deaths more than double the five-year average. Most were along the state’s eastern coast, where pollution-fed algae blooms were the main cause. The blooms are responsible for wiping out thousands of acres of seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon, a major feeding area for manatees.

Pristine Coral Reef Discovered

Scientists have discovered a vast, pristine reef of giant rose-shaped corals off the coast of Tahiti apparently unharmed by the bleaching effects of the warming ocean due to climate change, UNESCO announced Thursday.

Mapping approximately 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) long and up to 65 meters (213 feet) wide, UNESCO said it was “one of the most extensive healthy coral reefs on record.”

The United Nations heritage agency said it was “highly unusual” to find healthy coral in cooler waters between 30 and 65 meters deep and that it could suggest that there are more reefs in that ocean depth range that are safer from the impacts of warming waters.

Fish-Breeding Seabed

Scientists say they have discovered the world’s largest fish-breeding area, located in the south of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea.

Trolling with underwater cameras, they captured images of thousands of Jonah’s icefish nests on the seabed, with a density of about one nest per 30 square feet, which suggests about 60 million breeding sites blanket the seabed. “I went on an expedition to this region about 25 years ago, and one of the big questions then was where do these icefish breed,” said British Antarctic Survey scientist Katrin Linse. “Finding an assemblage on this scale is just mind-blowing to me.”

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