Radioactive particles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor entered the Pacific food chain in less than a month after the March 2011 tsunami. Trans-Pacific migrating fish are transporting these radionuclides across the ocean faster than surface currents. Could these radionuclide tracers help researchers determine the migration patterns of certain fish?
Since the late 1990s, human respiratory symptoms have been associated with seasonal blooms of the dinoflagellate Ostropsis cf. ovata along the Tuscan coastline. While inhalation is the suspected pathway of human exposure, it is unclear whether human illness is an allergic response to breathing in cells of the algae themselves, or if beach goers are being affected by toxins produced by O. cf. ovata. Marine aerosols could hold the key.
Biomonitoring can be a great tool for measuring pollutants in marine ecosystems, but not all organisms accumulate chemicals equally. The sun sponge is being tested as a new and improved bioindicator for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Bioluminescence, or light generation, has long caught our eye in the dark ocean water, but researchers have recently discovered how common a biofluorescent glow is in marine fish.
Plastic debris has been found in both the North Pacific and North Atlantic since the early 1970s. It accumulates in naturally forming gyres located in the subtropical zones of the world’s oceans, creating a “plastic soup.” Recent investigations have confirmed the presence of a similar garbage patch in the South Pacific.
Ingested contaminants, along with hormones, are preserved in the whale’s earplug. Unlike muscle and blubber, ear wax does not allow rapid biodegradation of compounds. This wax builds up in laminar layers throughout the whale’s lifetime, producing a timeline of the whale’s existence, much like tree rings.