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Pollution

This category contains 62 posts

‘Out of Sight’ Can’t Mean ‘Out of Mind’

Surface marine debris and microplastic pollution has gotten more attention recently—which is great—but there’s another garbage problem we are only starting to get a handle on. Deep in the dark, discarded items litter the sea floor, like dust-bunnies swept along by currents and collecting at rates previously underestimated. Andrea SchlunkI am a former PhD student […]

Is our plastic dependence accelerating climate change?

With our over-consumption of single-use plastics and lack of adequate recycling programs it is more important than ever to understand the impacts of these actions. For the first time, scientists find a link between plastic pollution and climate change! Brandy BiggarAs a grad student, I study marine biology at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. My […]

A boon to ocean conservation? Certain fungi can degrade marine plastics

Brunner I, Fischer M, Ru ̈thi J, Stierli B, Frey B (2018) Ability of fungi isolated from plastic debris floating in the shoreline of a lake to degrade plastics. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202047. About a year ago, I decided to make a move towards reducing my plastic consumption. Working in environmental conservation leaves you with […]

There’s plastic in your tap water, beer, and table salt

Kosuth M, Mason SA, Wattenberg EV (2018) Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0194970. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194970 You’ve seen it; plastic bottles discarded on the beach, photos of marine life starved on a diet of plastic straws, shopping bags adrift in a flotilla of single-use refuse. Plastic changed the world when […]

Turtles in the Trash: How microplastics are washing up where turtles breed

Like plastic bags and other larger plastic pieces, these insidious micro particles can make their way into animal digestive tracts and pollute the places they live. This pollution is what concerns Doctors Beckwith and Fuentes, from Florida State University. If microplastics are spreading through the ocean, what does this mean for the future of sea […]

Important oyster-producing region of British Columbia swamped with microplastics

  If you grew up in the developed world, chances are you have an intimate relationship with plastic. Your lunch container, your childhood toys, your coffee press, that sweater you just bought, and the packaging it came in – they’re all made of low-cost petrochemical derivatives. And they’re swamping our oceans in a pollutant the […]

A Swirling Sea of Plastic

Check out this article detailing how currents and eddies in the ocean help determine plastic pollution distribution! Melanie FeenI am a first year graduate student at the Graduate School of Oceanography at University of Rhode Island. I use robots and satellites to research the biological carbon pump, which is a series of processes that transfer […]

Microbe Mishap: Microplastic Pollution on the Coast of China

Marine plastic pollution has vast negative effects on the environment and human health. Microbes on the plastic may be transferring disease-causing microorganisms around the ocean or reducing the plastic’s toxicity. Researchers studied these plastic associated microbes on the coast of Shanghai, China. LeAundra JeffsI am a Master’s Candidate at University of Delaware where I study […]

Little fish, big fish… which one poses the bigger threat?

Article: Biton-Porsmoguer, S., Bǎnaru, D., Boudouresque, C. F., Dekeyser, I., Bouchoucha, M., Marco-Miralles, F., … & Harmelin-Vivien, M. (2018). Mercury in blue shark (Prionace glauca) and shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) from north-eastern Atlantic: Implication for fishery management. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 127, 131-138. Have you ever heard the term mercury poisoning? It may not be as common as […]

Plastics increase disease risks for corals

You have probably heard about the troubles coral reefs are facing and about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution in our oceans. Now these two issues appear to be linked: corals are getting sick when they come in contact with plastic. Find out more here. Ashley MarranzinoI received my Master’s degree from the University of […]

Adding Oil to the Marine Snow Mix

Can oil spills lead to large marine snow events? After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill people noticed large marine snow aggregates in the water. Researchers in this study investigated how these abnormally large aggregates formed. Victoria TreadawayI am a PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. I am […]

The Difference between Dippers and Divers: Plastic Pollution in Deep-Diving Seabirds

Plastic pollution is commonly imagined to be an issue that affects the sea surface. However, many small pieces of plastic sink into deeper waters. In this post, we look at research by scientists from Brazil set out along the Brazilian coastline to find out if plastic pollution is only a problem for surface-feeding birds, or […]

Wake up and smell the marine awareness…on social media?!

Close your eyes and imagine your favorite beach, or a memorable coast you have visited, completely free of litter-that’s right, no plastic bottles, no garbage, no microplastics, no wandering potato chip bags. Is this vision possible? Take a moment, or 3, and see what you can do to reduce marine pollution! Katherine BarrettKate is a […]

Paper or plastic? Policies inspired by research to find a solution to plastic pollution

Paper or plastic? In a lot of grocery stores, this is an innocent question, but recently it’s become a controversial issue. We talk about how plastic pollution research has inspired a barrel of policies, and some of the creative new ways people are trying to clean up the earth! Laura ZinkeI am a PhD student […]

BAD BOYZ 2.0. Emerging environmental contaminants

Our generation is facing environmental challenges not only from commonly-known contaminants, but also emerging ones, which have been lurking in the shadows until recently. Check this week’s post to know more about these (sometimes surprising) pollutants, and their effects! Prabarna GangulyI’m a fourth year PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at Northeastern University. My […]

Happy World Oceans Day!

Happy World Oceans Day! A day to celebrate and appreciate the fantastic oceans, while also raising awareness of the importance of minding and minimizing our impacts. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research scientist who has been lucky to have had many roles in my neophyte career, including […]

The oil droplet is quite terrified

Oil Spill Snorkels: Eating oil, breathing electrons, saving the world?

Oil spills are not great for the environment, but some bacteria thrive on eating oil. Scientists have been researching ways to use these natural oil degrading bacteria to clean up oil contaminated areas. A group in Italy adapted graphite rods to encourage marine mud bacteria to degrade oil more quickly. They call this the “Oil […]

Spotlight on Constructed Wetlands

Wetlands are one of the world’s powerhouses for ecosystem services, filtering our water, controlling coastal erosion, and providing feeding and nursery habitat for a huge variety of wildlife. They are super productive, containing plant species that grow fast and therefore contribute a huge influx of organic material to the system when they die and start […]

Microplastics demystified: a review examining how these tiny plastics act in pollutant transfer

Paper: Lohmann, R. Microplastics Are Not Important for the Cycling and Bioaccumulation of Organic Pollutants in the Oceans—but Should Microplastics Be Considered POPs Themselves? 2017. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 13, 460-465. DOI: 10.1002/ieam.1914 Not so fantastic plastic The development of plastic revolutionized daily life. We owe our convenient modern lifestyle to these polymers in […]

The end of the line for ocean plastics

A team of researchers set out on an Expedition around the Arctic Ocean to prove what scientists have long suspected: plastic debris is carried by ocean currents to a far corner of the Arctic Ocean where it reaches a dead end and is causing a massive plastic pile up. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at […]

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