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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef To Get Help From Rescue Bot

The Great Barrier Reef is about the same size as Italy or Japan.

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great barrier reef, Climate
A large piece of coral can be seen in the lagoon on Lady Elliot Island, on the Great Barrier Reef, northeast of Bundaberg town in Queensland, Australia. VOA

For the first time an underwater robot is to be used to plant baby coral to parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef damaged by mass bleaching, as scientists plan to collect hundreds of millions of coral spawn off the Queensland city of Cairns in the coming weeks.

Most coral reproduce through spawning, where eggs and sperm are pushed into the water at the same time. In northern Australia, researchers are preparing to harvest this mass release of coral spawn on the Great Barrier Reef. They will be reared into baby corals in floating enclosures. Then they will be delivered as so-called ‘larval clouds’ to Vlasoff Reef about an hour’s sailing from Cairns by a semi-autonomous robot.

Professor Peter Harrison, the director of the Marine Ecology Research Center at Southern Cross University, said science is giving a nature a helping hand.

great barrier reef
Many ways wee introduced in the past to map ocean floors and the newest one is from Japan. Pixabay

“What we are trying to do now is compensate for the loss of corals that would normally provide enough larvae for the system to naturally heal,” Harrison said.

Large areas of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have been damaged by severe bleaching – or loss of the algae that gives coral its color. The bleaching is caused by rising water temperatures and made worse by climate change.

The experiment on Vlasoff reef, which was badly affected by the mass bleaching, will be coordinated by divers, who will guide the spawn-spreading robot, known as the LarvalBot.

Professor Matthew Dunbabin from the Queensland University of Technology says time is of essence.

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The Great Barrier Reef, Australia. VOA

“In future projects we are hoping that we can start to do that more autonomously, but this is very new and we are up against the clock in terms of trying to get this in the field as quick as possible to make sure that we can have a reef to preserve,” Dunbabin said.

A coral reef is made up of millions of tiny animals called coral polyps. The reefs are critical ecosystems, and provide a home for at least a quarter of all marine species.

Also Read: Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

The Great Barrier Reef is about the same size as Italy or Japan. Thirty species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises have been recorded along the reef.

It faces a range of threats, from climate change and overfishing, to the run-off of pollution from farms, to coral-eating crown of thorns starfish. (VOA)

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Microsoft Pulls Plug On Its Cortana Mobile App For Android and iOS Devices

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its Cortana mobile app for both Android and iOS devices across several countries

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Microsoft
Microsoft is pulling the plug on its Cortana mobile app for both Android and iOS devices in several countries. Pixabay

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its Cortana mobile app for both Android and iOS devices in regions such as the UK, Canada, Australia and several other countries.

Beginning January 31, Microsoft will no longer support the digital assistant app in the above-mentioned countries, it said in three regional support notes.

When asked if the iOS and Android apps will also be shuttered in the US, a Microsoft spokesperson said that in addition to Britain, Australia and Canada, affected markets include China, Germany, India, Mexico and Spain, CNet reported on Saturday.

Microsoft
Microsoft will no longer support the digital assistant app in some countries. Pixabay

Notably, the Cortana app is used to configure settings and update firmware for devices like Microsoft’s Surface Headphones.

Lists, reminders and other content created by way of the iOS or Android app will still be accessible via Cortana on Windows, the company said in its support page.

Also Read- Xiaomi Plans To Unveil All Smartphones Over $285 with 5G Support Soon

“Cortana is an integral part of our broader vision to bring the power of conversational computing and productivity to all our platforms and devices,” a Microsoft spokesperson was quoted as saying by CNet. (IANS)