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Communication of Coral Eating Starfish can save Coral Reefs: Scientists

This crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) species is one of the few animals that can eat corals

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Coral reefs can be prevented by understanding communication of starfish. VOA
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  • The communication patterns of a species of starfish that feeds on coral
  • The crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) species is one of the few animals that can eat corals
  • The presence of this species, referred to by the locals as onihitode or demon starfish in Japan 

Tokyo, June 5, 2017: Japanese and Australian scientists have discovered the communication patterns of a species of starfish that feeds on coral.

This discovery, the scientists hope, will help in the preservation of the coral reefs as a single specimen of the crown-of-thorns starfish consumes up to 10 sq. metres of coral meat per year and is responsible for between 37 per cent to 99 per cent of the decrease in live coral cover, Efe news reported.

This crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) species is one of the few animals that can eat corals, Ken Baughman, one of the authors of the study by the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, said on Monday.

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The presence of this species, referred to by the locals as onihitode or demon starfish, in the waters off the coast of the Japanese village of Onna in the Okinawa island was first reported in 1957.

A native of the Indo-Pacific region, this species is experiencing a boom in population that has resulted in tens of thousands to millions of starfish in population densities of 150,000 per sq.km.

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Normally, reefs only have a few, says Baughman, adding But in recent decades the population outbreaks have tripled.

Baughman’s team and Australian researchers analysed the starfish’s genome, which for the first time has been completely sequenced.

It is kind of like an instruction manual for how to build a starfish. We can better understand crown-of-thorns starfish biology and consequently its behaviour, Baughman explained. (IANS)

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Donald Trump Negotiates Trade Deal With Japan

Trump to negotiate the trade deal with Japan

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Donald Trump.
To Lower Drug Costs at Home, Trump Wants Higher Prices Abroad. (Wikimedia Commons)

The US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he is negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Japan and that his country would only re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if its member countries offered him a deal he could not refuse.

“I don’t want to go back into TPP. But if they offered us a deal I can’t refuse on behalf of the US, I would do it. In the meantime, we are negotiating, and what I really would prefer is negotiating a one-on-one deal with Japan,” Donald Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, Abe stressed his country’s position towards the TPP, saying that it “is the best for both countries,” although he acknowledged the US’s interest in a bilateral trade deal, Efe reported.

Trump said that should his country reach a trade agreement with Japan, there will be talks about the possibility of ending tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that Washington introduced in March to a number of countries, including Japan.

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump added that his primary concern at the moment is the “massive” trade deficit with Japan, which amounted to “from $69 billion to $100 billion a year.”

In fact, the trade deficit with Japan last year stood at $69 billion, far from the $100 billion that the US President claimed, according to the official figures by the US Department of Commerce.

The two leaders made these announcements in a joint press conference at the tycoon’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where Abe arrived on Tuesday to have meeting with Trump on his four-day visit to the US.

Also Read: China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Last week, the White House announced that Trump had asked the US foreign trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the economic adviser Larry Kudlow to “take another look at whether or not a better deal (with the TPP) could be negotiated.”

However, Trump has shown little interest in negotiations that would further complicate the matter, since the other 11 countries that negotiated the original TPP, with the then Barack Obama administration, have already signed their own multilateral deal, the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11.

Shinzo Abe
FILE IMAGE- Shinzo Abe.

On the other hand, during this four-day visit Abe has a special interest in getting an exemption for Japan from the 10 per cent and 25 per cent tariffs that the Trump administration imposes on aluminum and steel imports, respectively.

Trump has granted a temporary exemption until May 1 to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the European Union.

Also Read: White House Denies Any Direct Talks Yet Between Trump And Kim

Japan has been left out of the exempted countries despite being one of the US’s major allies, and for that reason Abe is trying to make use of his visit to secure a place on that list, although Japan barely produces aluminum and the amount of steel exported to the US stands at only around 5 percent of its total steel exports.  IANS