December 6, 2007

Electricity Revives Bali Coral Reefs
The Associated Press (Posted by
04 Dec 2007
J Coleman
Area: Bali Indonesia

Just a few years ago, the lush coral reefs off Indonesia's Bali island were dying out, bleached by rising temperatures, blasted by dynamite fishing, and poisoned by cyanide. Now they are coming back, thanks to an unlikely remedy: electricity. The coral is thriving on dozens of metal structures submerged in the bay and fed by cables that send low-voltage electricity, which conservationists say is reviving it and spurring the growth. As thousands of delegates, experts, and activists debate climate at a conference that opened this week on Bali, the coral restoration project illustrates the creative ways scientists are trying to fight the ill-effects of global warming.

The project—dubbed "Bio-Rock"—is the brainchild of scientist Thomas Goreau and the late architect Wolf Hilbertz. The two have set up similar structures in some 20 countries, but the Bali experiment is the most extensive. Goreau said the Pemuteran Bay reefs off Bali's northwestern shore were under serious assault by 1998, victims of rising temperatures and impoverished islanders' aggressive fishing methods, which included stunning fish with cyanide poison and scooping them up with nets. "Under these conditions, traditional (revival) methods fail," explained Goreau, who is in Bali presenting his research at the UN-led conference. "Our method is the only one that speeds coral growth."

Undiagnosed Deaths, Camels - Saudi Arabia: RFI - Archive Number 20071205.3926
ProMED-mail -
30 Nov 2007
Area: Saudi Arabia

When more than 2000 camels perished in Saudi Arabia this year [2007], the mysterious die-offs caused a nationwide furor. Investigations were launched, and camel "beauty contests" suspended. And when evidence mounted that the killer was not an infectious disease but rather a toxic substance in the animals' feed, a government council demanded punishments and reforms. But just as scientists in North Africa and the Middle East are expanding research into these seemingly impregnable desert juggernauts, the animals appear to be increasingly vulnerable to disease and toxins.

Although epidemiological data are scarce -- especially in the camel-rich but politically troubled nations of Somalia and Sudan -- some scientists argue that the illnesses striking camels are changing. "We are seeing new diseases in camels, and we often don't have a good explanation," says Bernard Faye, chair of the newly formed International Society of Camelids Research and Development (ISOCARD). In North Africa, there have been several unexplained dromedary die-offs during the past decade, but the incidents have not shown a consistent pattern so far. In the late 1990s, hundreds of camels perished in Ethiopia, followed by isolated incidents of dying animals showing similar symptoms -- pneumonia and fevers, for example -- in Kenya and Sudan over the past 7 years.

Ecologists Discover a Novel Route of Viral Transmission
Public Library of Science (Posted by
06 Dec 2007

A group of avian ecologists, led by Jaime Potti, at the Estación Biológica de Doñana-CSIC (Sevilla, Spain) reports on the discovery that avian polyomaviruses, known potential pathogens producing disease in a number of vertebrate species, follow an 'upwards vertical' route of contagion throughout their studied host population of pied flycatchers, a small migrant songbird breeding in forests in central Spain near Madrid. The blood-sucking, parasitic fly larvae which infest their nests almost invariably transmit polyomaviruses to nestlings, which in turn pass them on to their parents throughout the latter's disposal of nestling faeces. Viral transmission thus follow an inverse vertical route, from offspring to parents, instead of the more usual vertical transmission from mothers to offspring, which was experimentally discarded by exchanging clutches among nests.

Classical Swine Fever, Wild Boars - Russia: (Moskovskaya)- Archive Number 20071205.3919
ProMED-mail -
04 Dec 2007
Area: Moskovskaya Russia

An outbreak of classical swine fever (CSF) among wild boars has been registered in the Lotoshinsky district in the Moscow region [Moskovskaya Oblast], says the press release of the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control Service of Russia (Rosselkhoznadzor). As specified by said department, the CSF virus was discovered during the investigation, by the laboratory of All-Russian institute for animal protection, of samples from 2 killed (in extremis) wild boars. The boars were located within the "Lotoshinskaya okhota" hunting territory. Quarantine measures have been applied, including a ban on boar hunting.

Oral vaccination of wild boars in the region against CSF is being applied. No additional infected boars have been detected, so far, among culled animals in the region. Noteworthy, domestic pigs in the private sector of the Lotoshinsky district were vaccinated against CSF in September 2007. However, additional measures for the prevention of CSF spread are being carried out on the pig farms of the Moscow region.


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