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UOWD EnviroTalk explores ‘the cradle of life’

Tuesday, 08 July, 2014

The secrets of the ocean, widely known as ‘the cradle of life’, were the subject of the latest in the series of EnviroTalk debates hosted by the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD).  

In an interactive session, UOWD students and staff heard from environmental specialist, Mr Razib Khan, about the richness and complexity of marine ecosystems and how they have evolved over time in the ocean environment.    

With a range of aquatic species on display, the audience got up close with some of the oceans’ most fascinating creatures to identify the unique characteristics they have developed to help them adapt to their living environment. From sharks to rabbitfish, the students examined their anatomy first-hand, revealing the features that they have evolved over time.

The discussion also drew attention to the huge challenges facing marine ecosystems, particularly coral reefs, which are the richest of all marine biomes. Mr Khan said, “Currently around 60 per cent of all the world’s coral reefs are under threat. By 2030 we expect that to be 90 per cent and by 2050 it could be close to 100 per cent.”

Highlighting the threats posed by pollution, which causes coral bleaching, and the over-fishing of certain species, Mr Khan said that the impact could have consequences well beyond the damage caused to the oceans’ biodiversity.

Speaking about the wider effects of responsible environmentalism, he said, “There are many economic benefits to effectively preserving marine habitats. Industries such as tourism rely upon the natural environment to attract visitors, particularly in developing parts of the world where it is supporting growth and diversification.”

The debate was part of UOWD’s EnviroTalk series, which was established to provide a platform for discussion on critical topics relevant to both students and the wider community. 

Ms Zeenath Reza Khan, Instructor of Environmental Sciences at UOWD and organiser of the event said, “It’s important that all our students develop an understanding of the environment and the impact we have on it, and moreover, how we can all play a part in preserving natural habitats and mitigating negative effects.

“Taking a hands-on approach to teaching these lessons really helps to instil the message and encourages students to develop their learning beyond the classroom and promote positive actions in their own day-to-day lives.” 

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