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Issue no. 107 | December 2021

Cover story

The Great Barrier Reef:
How global warming is gnawing away Nature's no.1 wonder

First visualize a minute creature that measures 1.5 cm in diameter. Now bring to your imaginative mind a structure that is 344,400 sq. kms in area which extends from northern tip of Queensland in north-eastern Australia to Bundaberg just south of Tropic of Capricon and is between 60 and 250 kilometers in width. The total length, north-to-south, is approximately 2,300 kilometers.

This is the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, world’s largest coral reef system. It’s almost beyond belief that the marine creatures as tiny as 1.5 cms wide have constructed this colossus structure that puts even the Great Pyramid of Egypt to shame. The reef, which is large enough to visible from space, is made up of nearly 3,000 individual reefs. It attracts more than two million tourists a year and contributes nearly 6.5 billion dollars to Australian economy, in addition to supporting 64,000 jobs. As well as its importance due to economic benefits, the Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of species of marine life including more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3,000 varieties of molluscs, 500 species of worms, 1,625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins.

More interesting articles

Crazy Inventions

In the field of science and technology Inventors have done great deal to make the world a healthier, faster, more efficient and even more dangerous place. But like any other group of people, they are sometimes good for laugh. Fortunately for us, most of these inventors have had their work immortalised in the outwardly somber files of the world’s patent offices. The word ‘patent’ is short for ‘letter patent’ and old English term for a document or documents granting a special privilege or monopoly. The patent system began in England, and the oldest patent known was issued in 1449 by King Henry VI. 

Nocturnal Animals

As the Sun sets in the west and night comes a great changeover takes place in the animal world. The diurnal creatures of the day seek their resting places. Many animals prefer to sleep in a hidden location which provides them protection from predators. Birds may spend nights in dense shrubbery or in the hole of a tree. A fox may spend the night in the shelter of a den. And a platypus sleeps in a long riverbank burrow.

Like animals, plants also have circadian rhythms that alter their metabolic behavior at night. They shut down processes like photosynthesis since the Sun is down.

Universal Calendar

Months, days and dates of each year’s calendar commencing from January 1 obviously indicate the future, whereas the events that had taken place during the previous year ended December 31 chronicle the past. There is no gainsaying every calendar pertains to the future since such is the reality. However, some years ago, the well-known American astronomer Carl Sagan devised a calendar that was an exception to this rule. He prepared a calendar that commenced from the big bang, marking the origin of the universe and covering all the evolutionary developments till date. 


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