Saturday, 1 September 2018

Coral Reefs Around The Pacific,

are under threat from many sources,

 some for nature itself in the form of a starfish that devours coral, the crown-of-thorns starfish, (Acanthaster planci), but help to eradicate this menace may soon be on the way, 

behold the RangerBot, this autonomous bounty hunter is the result of more than a decade’s worth of research and development by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) roboticist Matthew Dunbabin, backed by a US $750,000 grant from Google’s nonprofit arm, can search for and destroy the starfish, COTS outbreaks have been a major cause of coral death for the struggling Great Barrier Reef, the booms appear to be caused by multiple factors: the sea stars are prolific and fast growing, agricultural runoff boosts food for their larvae, and humans have overfished the few predators willing to eat the venomous pincushions, advances in robotic vision and artificial intelligence meant the COTSbot could recognize COTS 99.4 percent of the time, hopefully one day, fleets of RangerBots may autonomously monitor vast areas of the Great Barrier Reef, making the booms of COTS a thing of the past.

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