The oceans are subject to the whims of national policy, and yet they know no borders. Being poor ocean stewards here in the US could cause serious problems all over the world, as well as affecting the smidgeon of blue we can see from our shores. In this post, I outline a few ideas about how America’s new political landscape might affect ocean science and the future health of our global oceans .
Natural and human caused leakage of oil into the environment is commonplace throughout the world. Scientists are learning how microbes (microscopic organisms) can break down this oil and use it for energy. By understanding these processes, we will be able to determine the short and long-term environmental impacts, as well as use these organisms to help us clean up after a major spill.
Ghost fishing is ghastly because it creates underwater graveyards for wildlife. The authors covered here wrote a new review of gear entanglement among mammals, reptiles, and sharks. Find out what they discovered by reading today’s post!
Our world relies heavily on the burning of biological materials such as wood or fossil fuels to harness energy. While we all know that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a harmful byproduct of burning fuel, it’s not the only chemical formed during this process. These chemical byproducts may play a bigger and more complex role in the chemistry of our world than we had previously thought. In this study, researchers traveled the world collecting air and water samples from three different ocean basins to learn more about the unknown chemical consequences of burning fossil fuels on a massive scale.
Coral reefs are essential to the overall health of the planet. Comprised of tiny, individual animals, these massive ecosystems contain as much biological activity as that of human crop production. By studying the microscopic organisms living within these corals, scientists can predict when a reef may be under threat from serious diseases before it is too late, preventing loss of vast stretches of this incredibly important ecosystem.
Scientists may have a new option for figuring out how much debris litters our beaches and what it all is! Find out more in today’s World Oceans Day post on marine debris!
The accumulation of toxic methylmercury is a serious threat to wildlife all over the world – especially top predators in polar regions, like polar bears. Young polar bears are often the most vulnerable to detrimental effects of pollutants. To learn more about levels of mercury in polar bear cubs and their mothers, scientists measured total mercury content in samples of hair from bears in Western Hudson Bay.
Do Mother Nature a solid with these helpful tips & tricks to go green today!
Trillions of tiny plastic fragments are floating in the Earth’s ocean. These microplastics can attract organic pollutants, be ingested by marine organisms, and even end up in table salt. This Earth Week post gives a broad introduction to microplastics and examples of how we can all help to reduce this problem!
New Year’s resolutions are a great way to work towards being the person you want to be. This year, why not be a little bluer? Along with the rest of the Oceanbites writing crew, I’ve put together a list of suggested New Year’s resolutions that positively impact our troubled oceans, along with links to posts we’ve published this year that address the marine issues you’d be helping to solve!
Tiny shards and fibers of plastic termed “microplastics” accumulate in seafood with unknown consequences for human health. Now, they’re turning up in a product even more difficult to avoid: Researchers in Shanghai recently found microplastics in table salts bought from supermarkets across China.
Zooplankton, the tiny animals that make up the base of marine food webs, are ingesting microplastics. Given the widespread abundance of microplastics in the ocean, this finding could have serious ramifications for zooplankton and their predators.
Our global oceans are in a state of crisis. A new report from the WWF paints a bleak picture: human interference has pushed the oceans to the brink of collapse. The health of marine organisms and the habitats they live in have become severely threatened by compounding factors such as pollution, overfishing and increased CO2 input. This situation is urgent and requires global awareness and swift action. The ocean is changing at a rapid pace before our eyes and we can no longer waste time.
When undersea wells blowout, toxic concentrations of hydrocarbons can be rapidly released into the environment. The media presents these blowouts with dramatic images of flora and fauna covered in black tar along coastlines and on the sea surface. What are rarely shown in glossy photographs, however, are the consequences to the unseen deep-sea.
The dangerous diet fad among marine organisms is spreading! New study shows corals consume microplastics.
Dolphins and humans are continuously exposed to low levels of various halogenated, persistent manmade pollutants through their diets. In this study, blubber samples from 8 dolphins were analyzed by cutting-edge techniques to find out what’s accumulating in these marine predators. Findings suggest many routine monitoring programs underestimate the exposure of marine mammals to toxins.
Scientists estimated the degradation time for glyphosate, an herbicide in “Roundup”, in the Great Barrrier Reef. This is the first study of the persistence of glyphosate in seawater.
While smooth dogfish may not be on your list of favorite seafood, cartilaginous fish (mainly sharks and skates) may increasingly find their way onto your dinner plate due to the decline of more traditional fisheries. While increased demand for these species as a food item could help struggling seafood industries, recent proposals to use dogfish in federal food programs beg the question: Is it safe to eat shark?