Restoration, Hope, and Perhaps your Gardening Shears

Staghorn Coral (Acropora formosa)_1 by Josh More. Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Are you a gardener? Do you know what grows where and the specific conditions each plant prefers? Have you ever tried your hand at gardening…coral?

Two weeks ago a Faraday Institute course called Biology and Belief treated us to an array of fascinating talks from scientists explaining their work and the theological questions it raises for them. We were taken from the scale of individual genes and proteins up to entire ecosystems. Dr Margaret Miller, a marine ecologist from the United States, presented us with the coral reef ecosystem; its complexities, threats and potential interventions. She is an avid gardener – in the ocean! Find out more in this podcast (transcript below) as I caught up with her after her talk. Continue reading

God’s Universal Orchestra: Tuning in with shrimp, mountains and stars

Rainbow Gate by Christos Tsoumplekas. Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Bible says that all creation praises God, but our human-centred view might make us call this into question. How can non-human beings and even inanimate elements of creation praise their maker? How are we to understand Continue reading

Sea life

© Benjamin Cowburn, 2011

Over the summer I interviewed a number of scientists from different countries. The first of these interviews is with Bob Sluka, a marine conservation consultant and associate of the Faraday Institute from the US, now based in the UK and Kenya.

It’s amazing when you think that for most of human history, the only opportunity for people to see the majority of marine life was by pulling it up at the end of a line. Since the 1950s, when Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan invented modern SCUBA, we have had an unprecedented opportunity to recognise the beauty in the ocean. I love scuba diving and I also enjoy science, so when I found out that I could get a degree in marine biology I thought, ‘this is fantastic!’ and became a coral reef fish ecologist.

During my PhD I studied grouper, which are fascinating fish. There are more than a hundred and sixty species globally, and a large percentage of them gather in a ‘spawning aggregation’, where they return to the same spot every year to breed en masse. A friend of mine did a tagging study, and one fish travelled over two hundred kilometres to spawn. Continue reading