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Saving Coral Reefs Worldwide

Fish swimming around coral reef

pyvovarova yevheniia/Unsplash.com

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) has urged governments to take action to save the planet’s remaining coral reefs and their attendant fish populations, because collective human impacts are leaving fewer places untouched, with only 15 percent of the Earth’s land mass formally protected and global biodiversity declining at an unprecedented rate. To that end, a new online data platform, MERMAID helps scientists and management officials collect, organize and disseminate data on reef fish biomass and diversity, as well as the cover of hard corals, fleshy algae and other benthic groups—all identified by ICRI as key indicators of coral reef health, integrity and function.

The newly published 5th Global Biodiversity Outlook and other sources endorsed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services clearly indicate that governments are failing to meet existing global targets for biodiversity and that critical ecosystems like coral reefs will be altered to the point that the biodiversity they harbor, and the services they provide, will be irreparably damaged. Currently, only 2.5 percent of the world’s reefs are being actively protected.

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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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