A recentstudy shows that the world’s coral reefs have been showing signs of strong bleaching due toglobal warming. In the 1980s bleaching was rare, occurring about once every 25 years. Now the rate has risen to about once every five years. Environmentalistspredict that by 2050 bleaching will happen every year or two.
Bleaching is caused when warm water breaks down the algae inside the reefs. They provide food for the corals and keep them healthy. When algae fall off, corals lose their colour and can die within a short period of time. Even if the water surrounding the reefs gets colder again it may take years for the damaged reefs to recover completely.
While bleaching is especially a problem in the waters of the Carribean Sea and Western Atlantic, reefs around Australia and South Africa have hardly been hit. In addition to the warming temperatures of the oceans, coral reefs are also endangered by pollution and overfishing.
Coral reefs are an important ecosystem. They are home to 25% of all marine species and provide a habitat for countless types of fish. Reefs protect coastal regions from flooding and tidal waves. In addition, coral reefs are tourist attractions that lure millions of people every year. The tourist industry around the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, for example, is worth about 5 billion dollars a year.
billion = a thousand million
bleaching = to make something pale or white; when an object loses its colour
break down = to change its structure
Carribean Sea = sea between North and South America
cause = the reason for something; why something happens
countless = too many to be counted
due to = because of
ecosystem = all the animals and plants in a certain area and the way they live together
endangered = to be in danger
environmentalist = a person who cares about the world around us
especially = above all
global warming = when the temperatures in the atmosphere get higher because of increased amounts of carbon dioxide
habitat = place to live
in addition = also
lure = attract; here: bring people to the area
marine species = animals and plants that live in the oceans
occur = happen
overfishing = when you take too many fish from the sea so that the overall number of fish becomes too low
pollution = when water becomes dirty so that it cannot be used anymore
predict = to say that something will happen in the future
protect = keep safe
provide = give
rare = not very often
recent = a short time ago
recover = to become as healthy as they were before
sign = to show that something is happening
study = a piece of work that is done to find out more about a certain topic
surrounding = around
tidal wave = very large ocean wave that flows over land and destroys things
Chocolate may be in danger of becoming extinct by the middle of this century. Pests and fungal diseases have been found in cacao trees that may endanger the crop’s survival.
In addition, cacao is also under attack by global warming. Trees grow in a very small area about 20° north and south of the equator, where humidity and temperatures are the same all year round. By 2050 rising temperatures and drier weather will push cacao production up into mountainous areas, many of which are home to wild animals.
Scientists from the University of California are trying to save the plant. Together with researchers from the American food company Mars, they are trying to grow cacao seeds that are moreresistantand can grow at higher altitudes.
Most of the world’s cacao production comes from two countries in western Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. These areas may not be suitable for cacao production in the decades to come. Millions of farmers depend on cacao for a living.
altitude = how high up something is
cacao = seeds from which chocolate is made
decade = ten years
endanger = to be a threat to something
equator = line around the middle of the earth
extinct = die out; not exist anymore
century = a hundred years
depend on = need
fungal disease= disease caused by a simple plant that has no leaves and grows in the ground or on other plants; mushrooms are a type of fungus
global warming = an increase in the world’s temperatures caused by growing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere
humidity = the amount of water that is in the air
in addition = also
mountainous = in the mountains
pest = a small animal or insect that can destroy crops and plants
researcher = person who studies a topic in order to find out more about it
resistant = here: it cannot be destroyed or damaged
rise = to go up
scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
seed = small hard object from produced by plants, from which a new plant can grow
suitable = here: to be the ideal place to grow something
A human embryo that was frozen 24 years ago has now become a baby girl. Emma Wren Gibson was born in Knoxville, Tennessee from an embryo frozen in 1992. The mother, Tina Gibson, at 25, is only a year older than the embryo. It is the longest known frozen embryo that has successfully become a baby.
The Gibsons are unable to have children of their own and, in the past, have taken care of several other children.
Couples who use IVF to have a baby usually end up with more embryos than they need. They can decide to store them for later use, dispose of them or donate them for scientific research. Many parents who have leftover embryos give them to special centres where they can be used for others.
Doctors claim them frozen embryos can develop just as well as fresh ones. The dangerous part, however, is the thawing process.Only about 75% of all frozen embryos survive it. Health experts think that there may be up to a million frozen embryos in the United States.
For those who can’t have babies, using a frozen embryo from a donation centre is similar to adoption, only that the baby grows inside the adoptive mother.
adoptive = to become parent of a child that isn’t your own
claim = to say that something is true
develop = grow
dispose of = get rid of; destroy
donate = give something to an organisation in order to help
donation centre = here: a place where couples can give embryos they don’t need for others to use
embryo = a human being that has not yet been born but just started to develop
however = but
IVF = in vitro fertilisation = process in which a human egg gets together with male sperm outside a woman’s body; it is also called a test-tube baby
leftover = here: embryos that you do not need any more
scientific research = when scientists try to find out more about a disease or medical problem
similar = like
store = to put things away and keep them somewhere until they are needed
successfully = having the effect that you wanted
survive= live on after a dangerous situation
take care of = to care for someone or look after them
thawing process = here: to take an embryo out of a freezer and wait until its body temperature becomes normal
A recentsurvey , examining the years between 2005 and 2015, has come to the conclusion that more and more of the Amazon rain forest is lost due tomining operations. According to the government, most of these mining activities are illegal and unregulated.
Brazilian environmental organisations now say that mining is one of the major problems of the Amazon rain forest. Whereas earlier estimates put the destruction through mining at about 2% of the total area, experts now say that over 10% of rain forest loss is caused by mining. Most of the rain forest is cleared to create settlements for mine workers , as well as new transportation routes and airports. Minerals mined in the Amazon region include iron ore, bauxite and copper.
The destruction of the rain forest through mining is 12 times greater outside official and regulated areas than within. In some cases observers saw mining activity up to 70 km from a mine’s border.
Rain forests are essential to the planet’s climate. They bindcarbon dioxide and provide a living space for many plants and animals . Since 2000 more than 190 000 square kilometres of the Amazon rain forest have been cleared. The leading cause of deforestation is still farming.
Officials also report that, for the first time in years, deforestation throughout the year has actually decreased – by 16 % between August 2016 and July 2017. This is a result of more surveillance and stricter controls, but it is also caused by lower livestock prices on world markets.
according to = as said by …
bauxite = soft material that you use to get aluminium
bind = here: not let something escape into the atmosphere
border = the end of an area
carbon dioxide = gas that is produced when animals and people breathe out and when carbon is burned
cause = reason
clear = here: cut down trees
conclusion = to decide or say something, based on the information you have
copper = soft reddish-brown metal that lets electricity and heat pass through easily
decrease = to go down
deforestation = the cutting down or burning of all trees in an area
destruction = here: cutting down all trees in the area
due to = because of
environmental = about nature and the world around us
essential = extremely important and necessary
estimate = to calculate how big something is using the information you have
examine = to look closely at a topic in order to get more information about it
government = the people who rule a country
illegal = against the law
iron ore = rock that has iron in it
livestock = animals, such as cows or sheep, that are kept on a farm
loss = losing something
major = very important
mineral = material in the earth that is valuable and which you can sell
mining = the work of getting minerals, like coal, oil or metals out of the earth
official = here: allowed by the government
provide = offer, give
recent = a short time ago
settlement = group of houses created to live in
surveillance = when the police watch a place very closely because there may be something wrong going on there
survey = questions that you ask people in order to find out more about a topic
unregulated = not controlled or watched by the government
The 2011 tsunami , which led to the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, has swept thousands of sea creatures across the Pacific Ocean to the US coast. In the past 6 years scientists have found mussels, starfish, crabs and other marine animals washed up on the American Pacific coast. Marine biologists expect that there are even more species to arrive in the future.
The giant waves caused by the tsunami in Japan were almost 40 metres tall and washed objects into the open sea. In 2012, scientists found debris together with living creatures on them near the Alaskan coast as well as in Hawaii. They were sea animals that have never before been seen there.
Scientists are surprised that marine species have been able to survive over such a long period in such bad conditions. However, most species travelled on plastic or glass objects, things that do not decompose and stay the same for many years. On the other hand, animals that travelled on wooden objects did not make the long journey across the Pacific, because wood lasts only for a short time.
Because the debris moved slowly across the ocean the animals had time to get used to their new surroundings as they travelled the 4,000 mile journey across the Pacific.
With so much plastic and other garbage swimming in the world’s oceans, the danger of marine animals being washed up on foreign coasts has never been greater.
Experts are not sure what effect these new species may have on the local environment. Such invasive species may change the ecosystem of the area they arrive at. They might transport new diseases or kill off existing species . In any case, it will take a decade or more to see the results.
crab= sea animal with a hard shell , five legs on each side and two large claws
creature = animal; living thing
debris = garbage, waste
decade = ten years
decompose = to break down into many smaller parts
disease = illness
ecosystem = the animals and plants in a certain area and they way they live together
effect = result ; change caused by an event
foreign = another country
garbage = waste; things people throw away
however = but
invasive species = plant or animal that does not grow naturally in an area but has come there from somewhere else
journey = trip
local environment = the world around the place that you live in
marine species = animals and plants that live in the ocean
mussel = small sea animal with a soft body that can be eaten and a black shell that is split into two parts
nuclear catastrophe = here: an atomic power plant explodes and sends dangerous radioactive waves into the atmosphere
scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
starfish = flat sea animal that has five arms and looks like a star
surroundings = the place or natural area around a person or animal
survive = live on after a dangerous situation
sweep – swept = to push something away
tsunami = very large waves, most of the time cause by an earthquake in or near the sea.