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Pollution

This category contains 73 posts

Can Pacific Oysters handle a bit of microplastics in the lab? Shuck yeah!

Filter feeding animals like oysters can be exposed to small plastic particles, called microplastics, as they filter food out of the water. In this study microplastics apparently had no health effects on oysters, but is that the whole story? Hannah CollinsI’m a second year Masters student in Oceanography at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point. […]

Microplastics, Canned Fish, and You: How plastic pollution may play a role in your next lunch

Did you know that many plastic items can shed tiny particles called microplastics? These microplastics are present everywhere in our environment, from the sea to the air. But how prevalent are they, and do they pose harm to humans? Researchers attempted to answer this question by studying a common food item – canned fish. Francesca […]

Life in Plastic: 14 Million Tonnes of Microplastics Likely on Sea Floor

The deep-sea floor has always fascinated scientists and ocean lovers alike with its mystery and wonder. For the first time ever, scientists have estimated the amount of human-made plastics on the seafloor, and it will shock you. Elena GadoutsisI didn’t take the typical marine biologist path. I started my career as a nurse working from […]

Ocean plastic pollution damages bacteria that help us breathe

Every minute, we are dumping a garbage truckload of plastic litter into the ocean. Plastic pollution in the ocean are threatening not only millions of marine animals (whales, sharks, turtles and birds), but also marine plants. Toxic materials from plastic are affecting the ability of marine plants to produce oxygen that we breath. Jiwoon ParkI […]

SURFO Special: Scouting out marine plastics on the shores of Guam

Plethora of plastic pollution! Every year, large amounts of plastic are being deposited into our oceans as a direct result of human activities. It is up to us to understand what drive marine plastic with the hope to reduce waste in our waters. Katherine BarrettKate is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences […]

Is There Plastic in Paradise?

Tropical islands like the Maldives have always been viewed as untouched paradises for most people, but what lies beneath the crystal-clear waters? For the first time, scientists examine the island of Naifaru, Maldives in search of tiny bits of plastic, known as microplastics. Elena GadoutsisI didn’t take the typical marine biologist path. I started my […]

Genetically Modified Yeast Can Clean Up Wastewater

Humans have been polluting the ocean with heavy metals by burning fossil fuels, mining metals and discharging wastewater. But we may be able to clean up metals from the ocean in the near future with yeast. Jiwoon ParkI am a PhD student in chemical oceanography at University of Washington. I am studying how different forms […]

Menacing microplastics hamper hermit crab choices

How can little bits of plastic in the ocean impact a hermit crab’s ability to make decisions? Microplastics can be found from the deep sea to the coasts and they can affect everything from animal health to cognition. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying marine mammal communication. My research focuses on […]

Is our plastic dependence accelerating climate change?

  Reference: Royer, Sarah-Jeanne, Sara Ferrón, Samuel T. Wilson, David M. Karl. “Production of methane and ethylene from plastic in the environment.” PloS One 13, e0200574 (2018). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200574 Plastic? What’s the big deal? Since the 1950’s, over 6 billion tons of plastic have been produced globally. Less than 10% of plastic is recycled, and […]

Life in the Abyss: the ecological impacts of deep-sea mining

Did you know that about 95% of the ocean is unexplored? The deep ocean is logistically very difficult to access, so how do scientists study organisms that live hundreds of meters below the sea surface? The landscape of the deep-sea is diverse and certain structures such as polymetallic nodules, supports a vast array of marine […]

The lament of sediment: pesticide pollution hurts coastal biodiversity

Although seemingly far removed from the coasts, urban industries, agriculture, and daily human activities contribute pollution that can wind up stuck in the sediments of popular beaches and lagoons. Read on to find out how a recent study measured different kinds of pollutants in the sediment communities of a Mediterranean lagoon, and why long-term monitoring […]

Sargassum: An Overlooked Solution

Sargassum, a type of brown seaweed, provides important ecosystem services in the Atlantic. However, this new study explores how sargassum may provide one solution to marine pollution. Ashley MickensI recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Earth Science and Sustainability from Miami University of Ohio, and I’m currently working as a marine mammal observer in […]

You are what you eat: Microplastics travel from food to the brain

Oceans are full of microplastics. These tiny plastic particles end up in the stomach of marine animals. Now, scientists have discovered that microplastics can travel from the stomach of velvet swimming crabs to other organs – including the brain. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the […]

A High-Flying Aquatic Robot

Inspired by the flying squid, researchers have built a robot that can launch itself from the water surface using water-reactive fuel. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some engineering), and […]

Sunlight May Stimulate Breakdown of Ocean Plastic

A new study suggests that one form of plastic might not take as long to break down in the ocean as previously thought. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some […]

Traces of human plastic pollution in ocean sediment

Is the plastic we produce being stored in our oceans’ sediments? To answer this question scientists studied a sediment core from the Santa Barbara basin dating back to 1836. Samantha SettaI’m a PhD student in the Rynearson Lab at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). My research interests are focused […]

Giant Clams vs. Small Plastics

Microplastics are found all throughout our oceans. But in the Red Sea, there are a lot less. Find out how giant clams could be a culprit for getting rid of small plastics. Arossa, S., Martin, C., Rossbach, S., & Duarte, C. M. (2019). Microplastic removal by red sea giant clam (Tridacna maxima). Environmental Pollution. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2019.05.149 We use […]

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 […]

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