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Earth Transportation Science

Scientists Race To Save Miami Coral Doomed By Dredging 99

An anonymous reader writes "Miami scientists are scrambling to rescue a crop of coral at the bottom of one of the world's busiest shipping channels that they say could hold clues about climate change. 'The coral, which may hold clues about how sea life adapts to climate change, is growing in Government Cut. The channel, created more than a century ago, leads to PortMiami and is undergoing a $205 million dredging project — scheduled to begin Saturday — to deepen the sea floor by about 10 feet in time for a wave of new monster cargo ships cruising through an expanded Panama Canal starting in 2015. Endangered coral and larger coral have already been removed by a team hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the dredging work. But the remaining coral, deemed "corals of opportunity" in Corps lingo, can be retrieved with a permit. The problem, scientists say, is they only had 12 days between when the permits were issued last month and the start of dredging, not nearly enough time to save the unusual colonies thriving in Government Cut.'"
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Scientists Race To Save Miami Coral Doomed By Dredging

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  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @03:30PM (#47191389)

    Giving 12 days to perhaps save a tiny bit of biodiversity and learn something about doomed nature

    The degree of "doomedness" is highly questionable.

    I don't dispute that human activities have harmed coral in many cases. But coral evolved when it was both warmer than it is now, AND the concentration of CO2 was many times what it is today.

    Also, studies have shown that the pH in a given location of the ocean typically varies every day far more than any amount that can be attributed to CO2.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2014 @03:51PM (#47191467)

    > But coral evolved when it was both warmer than it is now, AND the concentration of CO2 was many times what it is today.

    Over millenia, not decades.

    > studies have shown that the pH in a given location of the ocean typically varies every day far more than any amount that can be attributed to CO2.

    But the average over the entire day has been significantly increased. Much like how air temperatures may vary by 20-30 degrees F from night to day but a change in the average daily temperatures of just a couple of degrees has a major effect on growing seasons, insect viability, etc.

    For a geek you suuuuuuck at math.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2014 @04:08PM (#47191531)

    Though you're a troll, I'll answer. The Army is responsible for security of the nation. To do that, they have to be able to move a lot of stuff from garrison to wherever the war is. That quantity of shit moves 3 ways, truck, train and boat. Now, trucks and trains are clearly mostly for interestate commerce; you move stuff from one place to another inside the country. Therefore, they fit in the constitutional categories of postal service. It's a historical artifact, but federal support of them is justified under the postal clause of the constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 empowers congress ..."To establisht post offices and post roads". But, the federal funding for those is through the Department of Transportation. Navigable waterways and ports, however, are much more an international commerce thing. The army started maintaining them to be able to support the armies out west, and that tradition has continued, since they have the expertise. Believe it or not, the Army has more boats than the Navy. Back to the point, though, having ocean facing ports is very much part of the Army's ability to move men and supplies, so it remains in that interesting mostly-civilian adjunct, the army corp of engineers. So how about hydropower? How is that a military thing? Well, the genesis of that was generating enough to separate uranium for the Manhattan project.

  • by ShnowDoggie ( 858806 ) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @10:44PM (#47192839)
    "but people like you really need to stop pretending you can keep the planet exactly like it is forever. All that will happen if you try is your death at the hands of your own starvation."

    Many well informed people would argue the exact opposite is true. The environment is changing, not despite us, but in fact because of us. Right now the world should be in a period of environmental stability. Instead we are seeing easily measured change. Furthermore, in many cases we can measure how this change is causing our own death. Just take a look at the pollution issues in China right now. Also take a look at how bad the smog was in Los Angeles a few decades ago. Without effort the air in and around Los Angeles would be unsafe causing many heath problems, heavy economic loss and early death.

    Local change is easy to track. Global change is more difficult to track and not as visible to individuals. Here too we have example of what we can do. One well studied example is the hole in the ozone. We found it. We studied it. We changed our behavior. And now it is getting better.
  • by usuallylost ( 2468686 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:45AM (#47194141)

    Well the army has to maintain a staff of competent engineers for use during war time when they need to do things like open harbors, clear beaches, build air strips, build costal defenses etc. Those guys can either just sit around during peacetime or the Government can give them other responsiblities. So the government gets to use engineers, construction crews etc that it is already paying for rather than letting them sit idle and hiring somebody else. Also it keeps their skills up to date by having them work on real projects on a more or less continuous basis.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.