A macro view of hard coral in Malaysia is seen here. Corals are marine organisms that often live in colonies of many identical individuals. Coral is formed from a myriad of polyps, which can be a few millimeters in diameter. They are genetically identical and reproduce asexually, but can also breed by spawning. Corals are major contributors to the structure of reefs that grow in tropical and subtropical water. Many species need sunlight to grow and are found in shallow water, though other species can live in the deeper, colder waters.
Johannes Dahl, of German company Thermovolt, fixes a solar panel on the roof of the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, on Sept. 29, 2008. A total of 2,400 panels were installed in order to provide 300,000 kilowatt hours of energy which will be used to illuminate, heat, and cool the building where the pontiff holds his general audiences in the winter and in bad weather. Concerts in honor of the pontiff are also staged in the 6,300-seat hall. In the background St. Peter's Basilica can be seen.
The Amazon Rainforest is one of 28 sites picked as finalists in a global poll to name the New Seven Wonders of Nature, conducted by the Swiss nonprofit New7Wonders Foundation. The Brazilian Amazon, pictured here, harbors 40 percent of all remaining tropical rainforest, playing a vital role in global biodiversity and in protecting the earth's climate.
There are nine planetary boundaries that should be respected in order to reduce risking the self-regulating capacity of the planet. The environmental conference is only a first step.
The Philippines were hit hard by two recent storms. Critics say politicians have ignored repeated warnings of the capital's vulnerability.
With little agreement at the Bangkok UN climate meeting of 180 nations, the agenda for the crucial December Copenhagen conference is still up for heated debate.
2009 Nobel Peace Prize to Obama reflects European appreciation for his cooperative, engaged approach to world politics.