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Staghorn coralMIAMI – March 12, 2013 – University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science graduate student Erica Towle was awarded a grant to study Acropora cervicornis, or staghorn corals, by the Mohamed bin Zayed Conservation Fund.  This species of hard corals is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Speciesâ„¢. Their populations worldwide have experienced a reduction of more than 80% over the last 30 years due to the effects of disease, climate change and human-related factors. Towle’s research will look for markers for resilience to climate change - specifically to see if heterotrophic nutrition and lipid reserves, which provide energy for daily metabolism can help them to survive in the face of increasing temperatures and ocean acidification.

“The Staghorn coral used to be one of the dominant reef builders in the Florida Reef Tract.  In the face of global climate change, it is imperative that we understand what factors contribute to this species’ resilience to stress before it’s too late,” said Towle.

Miami is renowned around the world as a hub of culture and diversity, boasting some of North America’s largest festivals and most sought-after shows. However, a new chapter will begin on August 31st 2013 as the city debuts yet another global accolade – a 100% eco-friendly music festival.

Dubbed ‘Friends of Nature Music Festival’ the event aims to raise awareness about the planet through two days of spectacular music, peace, entertainment and a wide variety of activities and exhibitors. While setting the standard by being 100% sustainable in itself, the ground-breaking festival is set to take the city by storm.

4H_Science_DayOn October 10th, 81 students at Horace Mann Middle School became scientists for the day during the fifth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD). As part of 4-H NYSD, youth participated in the 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge: the 2012 National Science Experiment.

Designed by The Ohio State University Extension, this year's experiment introduced youth to robotic engineering concepts as they program a robot to clean up a simulated environmental spill. The 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge demonstrated that by utilizing engineering principles, youth can have a positive impact on communities and ecosystems.

The Broward County Board of County Commissioners approved the Regional Climate Action Plan, a major deliverable under the four-County Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (Compact) on Tuesday, October 23. The Compact was adopted in January 2010 by Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties who committed to partner in addressing the regional challenges posed by climate change.

The Regional Climate Action Plan represents the culmination of more than three years of technical and planning processes and the support of diverse agencies and stakeholders from across the region. It provides a foundation for building community resilience through concerted actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to regional and local impacts of a changing climate. The plan’s recommendations also aim to protect the region’s unique assets and support economic development, while fostering healthy, livable communities.