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pollution

This tag is associated with 41 posts

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!

Seaweed antioxidants protect fish too

A new study suggests that feeding fish small amounts of antioxidant-rich seaweed can protected them from environmental challenges.

Fireproofing the Arctic

Chemicals that are stable enough for our everyday use are often remarkably stable in the natural environment as well. This poses a problem because these chemicals can travel far from sources and end up in pristine environments like the Arctic. In the study described here, researchers from Germany and China joined forces to measure one group of manmade molecules, the organophosphate esters, in snow, seawater, and air from the remote North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean.

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!

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 Spill Snorkel”. Read on to find out more about how and why this works, and some of the other ways we can naturally clean up the earth!

After the Phase Out: Can Banning Toxic Chemicals Rescue Pilot Whales?

When it comes to persistent pollutants, all roads lead to the ocean. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is a chemical that has recently gained attention due to its toxic effects and widespread presence in drinking water. PFOS from human products has also become widespread in ocean waters and the creatures who live in them. PFOS was banned and phased out of use in many areas as of 2002, but has this led to declining levels in marine mammals?

I’m Gonna Soak Up the Sun: Sunscreen’s Impact on Coral Communities

Sunscreen prevents skin cancer but may also be linked to coral bleaching and harm to coral larvae. Read more to find out what scientists found in corals off the coast of Hong Kong when they sampled for common sunscreen UV protection chemicals.

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.

MARPOL-ling in the Right Direction

Posted by Steven Koch Research article: Zetterdahl, M., Jana Moldanov, J., Xiangyu Pei, X., Pathak, R. K., Demirdjian, B. (2016). Impact of the 0.1% fuel sulfur content limit in SECA on particle and gaseous emissions from marine vessels. Elseveir, Atmospheric Environment, 145 (2016) 338-345. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2016.09.022 Background Air pollution is an important issue that adversely […]

What Does the US Election Mean for Our Oceans?

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 .

Microbes: The original organic cleaning agents

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.

Let’s Ghost Fishing for Halloween!

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!

Beyond CO2: Chemical Consequences of Our Love Affair with Fossil Fuels

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 Microbiome Health: There’s no probiotic yogurt for that

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.

To I.D. Debris: LIDAR as a tool to identify trash on the beach

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!

What’s in the Hair of a Polar Bear?

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.

Go Green for Earth Day!

Do Mother Nature a solid with these helpful tips & tricks to go green today!

A Million Little Pieces….of plastic

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!

Seafood

Blue New Year’s Resolutions

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!

Microplastics for Dinner

Please Pass the Plastic

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.

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