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  1. ScUber is an Uber submarine exploring the Great Barrier Reef Fans of submarines and fishy puns can book the sub through the Uber app. File this one under "I can't believe nobody did this sooner": there's an Uber submarine, and it's called ScUber. The sub has been launched by ride-sharing company Uber and Australian tourist group Tourism Queensland. For the next few weeks, it'll take two intrepid passengers 30m underwater to explore the Great Barrier Reef, for just AU$1,500 (roughly $1,000 or £815). And of course, you book it through the app just like a regular taxi. Let's dive in for a closer look: Australia's oceans have suffered environmental damage in recent years, but technology is helping to repair and rejuvenate the Great Barrier Reef. Source
  2. The Great Barrier Reef could be saved by these lab-grown coral babies The children really are the future. Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science re-homing baby corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Kate Green/Australian Institute of Marine Science Scientists hope a new group of baby corals settled on the Great Barrier Reef could provide the key to a creating a reef capable of withstanding climate change. Researchers at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have just re-homed a group of hybrid coral babies off the north-eastern coast of Australia in a first that they hope will save the reef. The "in-vitro" corals were grown in a lab and now, at the age of three months, scientists say they show signs of being able to cope with life in the wild and potentially help build a more resilient reef. The hybrid corals were raised in the National Sea Simulator on Australia's eastern coast, a giant lab full of tanks that scientists use to recreate conditions on the reef. The lab features different tanks that can be precisely adjusted to recreate current conditions on the reef, as well as possible future conditions such as a "sea" with increased temperatures and ocean acidification that could mimic what life on the reef looks like in 50 or 100 years time. The hybrid corals were created by fertilising organisms from different coral species, according to AIMS, a process which can occur in the wild. After being raised in a lab, AIMS hopes these hybrids may carry the genes to survive increased ocean temperatures. As ocean temperatures rise and marine life on the Great Barrier Reef becomes harder to sustain, these baby corals could grow up to be more suited to long-term life on the reef. "Most corals in the wild are now living at the very top of their survival limit in terms of temperature," said Madeleine van Oppen, an ecological geneticist at AIMS. "But these corals are showing promise; we have seen some coral hybrids grow and survive better under elevated temperature and acidity levels, compared to their parents." And while the baby corals were grown in a lab and have never experienced their natural habitat, like all good children, they are returning to their family roots. "They have shown resilience in the lab so now we have placed them back on reef where their parents were originally collected, to see how they survive in their natural environment." If all goes well for the Class of 2019, which were settled in their new home last week, van Oppen says scientists will have a better idea of the risks and benefits of human intervention on the reef. And if the corals thrive, scientists may be one step closer to restoring one of the world's biggest and most spectacular natural wonders. Source
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