Learning Experiences from Coral Reefs- Rainforests of the Water
- 20 January 2022
As a Secondary Biology Facilitator, I was always fascinated by the way nature works. I never knew of a parallel world in waters as ours in the form of Coral Reefs- Rainforests of the Water.
My first experience of Snorkeling and Scuba Diving was into the island waters of Andamans, and was super excited to see white boulders in different shapes and forms, only to be told later that they are dead corals. Only few in yellow and purple colors were living corals. I was bewildered and was told later that the island was a commercial island and had lot of tourist activities due to which the ocean shores warm up and it kills the Corals. Yes! Coral reefs are endangered due to overfishing, climate change and ocean acidification.
Surprisingly, Coral reefs support more species per unit area than any other marine environment, including about 4,000 species of fish and hundreds of other species. While learning about ecosystems together with learners across grades, I being a Biology Facilitator, ensured that I take up this topic as Corals are truly the most diverse ecosystems and are called the Rainforests of the Waters. I showed them few dead corals which I had collected long back, to let them have a feel of how the dead corals look like. A Virtual Field Trip to the Land of Bahamas followed.
As technology becomes a more intimate part of our everyday lives, Artificial Intelligence is helping solve some of environment’s greatest challenges. One such example is the Project CORaiL, an artificial intelligence-powered system based on the domain of computer vision, it observes, classifies and measures marine life. Strategically placed smart cameras, installed underwater, it allows non-invasive observations.
AI based Robots is another innovative way to clean coral reefs with minimum damage. Coral reefs can be located using reinforcement learning of robots followed by identification of plastic and other wastes and then cleaned with minimum damage to corals.
Students and community at large need to be aware and motivated towards their role in reviving of the corals using AI and other technologies as children born today may be the last generation to see Coral Reefs unless action is taken. They are born in this beautiful world. It’s important we let it be the way it is- BEAUTIFUL.
Let’s inspire our present and future generations to focus on the ways to reverse harmful ecological trends. Let us not be the species causing the maximum harm to the environment as all species have equal rights to the planet EARTH.
Secondary Biology Facilitator
Oakridge International School, Mohali
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