The world uses 1 billion unrecyclable plastic straws a day – 500 million in the United States – an untold number of which end up in the ocean, polluting the water and coastlines and posing a deadly threat to sea turtles and other marine animals. The Lonely Whale Foundation’s “Strawless in Seattle” campaign resulted in the elimination of 2.3 million disposable plastic straws in the month of September in that city.
Conservation of dwindling fish stocks is being severely hampered by poor controls on global trade, according to research published today (Monday, October 9, 2017) in Scientific Reports. The study carried out by the Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre at the University of Salford looked at global production and trade statistics of the popular 'snapper' fishes and uncovered wide inconsistencies in records meant that the officially reported snapper trade may be underestimated by more than 70%.
An FAO study finds that more than 100 commercial seafood species ingest microplastic, which can be contaminated with toxins. More worrying are the unknown health effects of even smaller nanoplastics. There’s an estimated 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, most of it broken up into bits smaller than the nail on your pinkie finger. Marine animals eat this plastic when they mistake it for fish eggs, plankton and algae.
Environmental monitoring is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. One solution: Tap data stored in tweets and Instagram photos to track the health of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram could be a rich source of free information for scientists tasked with monitoring the health of coral reefs and other environmental assets, our new research suggests.
For the first time ever, scientists successfully performed health assessments, including collecting blood and biological samples, taking measurements and attaching satellite tracking tags, to a population of wild whale sharks -- the world's largest fish, classified as "endangered" since 2016. The research advancement, which occurred in Indonesia's remote Cendrawasih Bay, has significant implications for unlocking the mysteries surrounding the overall health of whale sharks -- including the potential impacts of tourism on their health. These details can better inform future conservation policies to protect and encourage their population recovery.
Anchovies are known more as a pickled pizza topping than for their crucial place in the marine food chain. Now scientists have confirmed a disturbing new behavior by these tiny forage fish that could have larger implications for human health: anchovies are eating tiny pieces of ocean plastic, and because they, in turn, are eaten by larger fish, the toxins in those microplastics could be transferred to fish consumed by humans.
IF THE CURRENT deoxygenation of the ocean mirrors past events, the area of oxygen-deprived waters might double over the next 100 to 350 years, according to a new study. But it could also happen much faster than that, the researchers say. The ocean is losing oxygen due to nutrient pollution and the climate change effects of rising water temperatures and decreased mixing of marine layers.
It's become a rite of summer. Every year, a "dead zone" appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an area where water doesn't have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it. This week, NOAA announced that this year's dead zone is the biggest one ever measured. It covers 8,776 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey. And it's adding fuel to a debate over whether state and federal governments are doing enough to cut pollution that comes from farms.
Scientists at Caltech and USC have discovered a way to speed up the slow part of the chemical reaction that ultimately helps Earth to safely lock away, or sequester, carbon dioxide into the ocean. Simply adding a common enzyme to the mix, the researchers have found, can make that rate-limiting part of the process go 500 times faster. A paper about the work appears online the week of July 17 ahead of publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A "significant" harmful algae bloom is expected to form in western Lake Erie this summer, though it probably won't be as large as some previous formations that posed health risks and hampered tourism, scientists said Thursday.
DYING CORAL REEFS. Sea turtles choking on plastic trash. Plummeting fish stocks. There seems to be a never-ending daily drumbeat of negative ocean news, which can obscure progress in marine preservation. Case in point: A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE found that ocean health has remained more or less stable over the past five years.
Biodiversity losses from deep-sea mining are unavoidable and possibly irrevocable, an international team of 15 marine scientists, resource economists and legal scholars argue in a letter published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.