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Australia Offers Cash For Ideas To Save Great Barrier Reef

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Australia is inviting the top researchers on the planet to help in saving the Great Barrier Reef. The country has recently offered over a million dollars for funding the research for the protection of the largest living structure on the Earth.

Saving The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been suffering massive coral bleaching because of warming sea temperatures due to climate change. In addition, the reef, which spans 2,300 kilometers, is also being pressurized by development, farming runoff, and predators such as crown-of-thorns starfish. Experts have warned that the reef can suffer from irreversible damage.

On Jan. 16, the government of Australia announced a funding pot of $1.6 million to those who can brainstorm ideas that can help in saving the natural wonder.

"The scale of the problem is big and big thinking is needed, but it's important to remember that solutions can come from anywhere," said environment minister Josh Frydenberg.

Frydenberg explained that solutions could focus on any part of damage control — from lowering corals’ exposure to elements that stress them physically, and cultivating coral larvae that build reef by boosting the rate of coral regeneration, which will attract other significant marine species.

The minister further added that the money would be available to the globe’s greatest entrepreneurs, innovators, business and industry leaders, and scientific minds.

Approximately $200,000 is available for the starting feasibility stage. During this phase, scientists can analyze the commercial and technical success of the various proposals for about six months. At this stage, more than one proposal will probably be accepted, the government said.

Subsequently, $800,000 will be used to develop and examine their prototypes for nearly 12 months. The applicants that are found successful will be retaining intellectual property rights and can go on to make their innovation commercial.

Great Barrier Reef Not On List Of Danger Sites

Interestingly, the Barrier Reef does not make the cut for the list of sites that are said to be in danger, a decision that was taken by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee last year, even though there is global worry over the significant coral bleaching.

Warming sea temperatures damaged the corals twice in the summers of 2016 and 2017. Scientists said that an unprecedented event like this would mean an insufficient time for invertebrate marine creatures to make a full recovery. Though coral reefs constitute less than one percent of the marine environment on Earth, they are home to around 25 percent of ocean life and act as nurseries to many fish species.

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