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Pollution

This category contains 68 posts

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 am a senior Environmental Earth Science and Sustainability major at Miami University of Ohio. While my undergraduate research focused on biogeochemical cycles in lakes and streams, […]

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). Broadly, my research interests are […]

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 […]

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 […]

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