A highly toxic form of mercury could jump by 300 to 600 percent in zooplankton—tiny animals at the base of the marine food chain—if land runoff increases by 15 to 30 percent, according to a new study. And such an increase is possible due to climate change, according to the pioneering study by Rutgers University and other scientists published today in Science Advances.
One of the most talked-about consequences of climate change is ocean acidification, which particularly threatens creatures that build shells. But there’s another big problem in the ocean’s chemistry that’s beginning to get out of control: oxygen. Even though they live underwater, fish breathe oxygen just like we do. Their gills pull dissolved oxygen out of the water. But the warmer the ocean’s water gets, the less dissolved oxygen it can hold. It’s basically the underwater equivalent of a human panting in the thin air on a mountaintop.
Some beluga whales are adapting to climate change by changing their migratory habits, while other are not, a new study finds. Beluga whales spend the summer in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and winters in the warmer Bering Sea to the south. Some beluga whales are delaying their autumn southern migration by up to four weeks, according to a paper published in the journal Global Change Biology.
Pollution in the Arctic is so bad that chemicals are accumulating in polar bear mother’s milk and getting passed onto bear cubs. A new analysis of pollutants in the Arctic has found that polar bears are at a particularly high risk, compared to other animals like seals.
The study was published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in December and focused on a class of pollutants known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are toxic, hang around for a long time, and tend to build up in the bodies of humans and animals.
The recent U.S. presidential election loomed large last week at the world’s largest annual gathering of Earth and space scientists, the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. When Eos asked some of the more than 20,000 scientists at the meeting what they thought the election’s outcome means for the Earth and space sciences, we heard a wide range of responses, from dismissal of the election’s importance to deep concern.
NMFS is proposing to withdraw the alternative tow time restriction and require all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets (butterfly trawls) rigged for fishing—with the exception of vessels participating in the Biscayne Bay wing net fishery prosecuted in Miami-Dade County, Florida—to use turtle excluder devices (TEDs) designed to exclude small turtles in their nets. The intent of this proposed rule is to reduce incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles in the southeastern U.S. shrimp fisheries, and to aid in the protection and recovery of listed sea turtle populations.
New restrictions on U.S. seafood imports, which will require seafood to be harvested in accordance with the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), will likely offer significant marine conservation benefits on a global scale. In this Policy Forum, Rob Williams et al. highlight the impacts and challenges involved in this endeavor. The U.S. is the largest importer of seafood in the world, accepting marine catches from more than 120 countries. Best case scenario, countries will comply and marine species will benefit from improved protection. Worst case, countries could suffer economically from not being able to export to the US, and/or choose not to comply.
Seaweed-eating fish are becoming increasingly voracious as the ocean warms due to climate change and are responsible for the recent destruction of kelp forests off the NSW north coast near Coffs Harbour, research shows. The study includes an analysis of underwater video, covering a 10-year period between 2002 and 2012, during which the water warmed by 0.6 degrees. “Kelp forests provide vital habitat for hundreds of marine species, including fish, lobster and abalone,” says study first author Dr Adriana Vergés of UNSW and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.
In a new study, researchers from North Carolina State University found that a specific neurotoxin can persist and accumulate in “marine snow” formed by the algae Pseudo-nitzschia, and that this marine snow can reach significant depths quickly. These findings have implications for food safety policies in areas affected by toxic marine algal blooms.
Coral across Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has suffered its most devastating die-off on record, a new report says.
(From CNN / by Ben Westcott)– In just nine months, bleaching caused by warmer water has killed around 67% …
Incentives that are designed to enable smarter use of the ocean while also protecting marine ecosystems can and do work, and offer significant hope to help address the multiple environmental threats facing the world’s oceans, researchers conclude in a new analysis. Whether economic or social, incentive-based solutions may be one of the best options for progress in reducing impacts from overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification and pollution, researchers from Oregon State University and Princeton University say in a new report published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Scientists studying naturally high carbon dioxide coral reefs in Papua New Guinea found that erosion of essential habitat is accelerated in these highly acidified waters, even as coral growth continues to slow. The new research by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), NOAA, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science has important implications for coral reefs around the world as the ocean become more acidic as a result of global change.