Animals, News, World Problems

Ocean Acidification Threatens to Destroy Shellfish Populations

2223b9d6ca3ed529650d34647affbacd

Mollusks such as oysters, clams and scallops are highly vulnerable to the increasing acidification of the world’s oceans. A new study concluded that the acidification is so intense that the mollusks aren’t able to properly produce a hard shell, putting them in peril.

Environment, News, Science

Leading Climate Denier and Harvard Scientist Took $1.2 Million Bribe From Oil Companies

Image via Climate Change Psychology.

Wei-Hock Soon, an aerospace engineer and a part-time employee at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is one of the few respected scientists who spoke against the general consensus that human activity is a significant contributor to climate change. He has published 11 papers on climate change since 2008. However, it was recently shown that he received $1.2 million from oil companies in exchange for his “science”. According to leaked documents, the papers were simply “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money. He used the same term to describe a testimony he prepared for Congress.

Animals, Biology, News

New Seadragon Species Discovered After 150 Years – Ruby Seadragon Uses Color as Camouflage

The three known seadragon species. Image credits: Stiller et al.

Until now, only two species of seadragon had been reported, with the last one being discovered 150 years ago! Now, biologists have discovered a new species off the coast of Australia: a red hot sea dragon. “All this time we thought that there were only two species,” marine biologist Nerida Wilson of the Western Australia Museum said in a press release. “Suddenly,

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

How climate change will shape New York City in the next 100 years

statue of libery

The most populated city in the United States is already experiencing its fair share of floods, hurricanes and heat waves, but these will only intensify in years to come. According to the New York City Panel on Climate Change by the 2080s there could be an 8.8-degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature from 1980s levels and as many as six heat waves a year or three times as many as in the 1980s. Sea levels could also rise by as much as six feet, pressing the municipality for swift adaptive measures.

Climate, News, Pollution, World Problems

Short-lived chemicals that burn a hole in the ozone layer are on the rise

Nasa graphic showing the extent of the ozone hole over Antarctica Public domain

After scientists discovered a huge hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic, an emergency UN panel banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in 1987. These build up in the atmosphere, react with the triple oxygen molecule and break it down. Since then, ozone has thankfully replenished, thought it might take decades before it reverts to pre-1980 levels. Progress is slow because there are still some plants through out the world who illegally use CFCs (the stuff that used to go into refrigerants or deodorants), but also because there are other ozone-depleting chemicals out there – some recognized, others new and extremely dangerous. One class of chemicals that has been allowed in the industry since the Montreal Protocol, despite the danger it posses to ozone, is made up of so-called ‘very short-lived substances’ (VSLS) which breakup in under six months. A new study, however, found that these have dramatically increased over the past couple of years and despite their short reaction times, these could prove to be extremely dangerous.

News, Pollution

Map of Ocean Acidification Paints Dire Picture

A global look at ocean pH reveals that the water is more alkaline (basic) in the open ocean than in many coastal regions. The more alkaline the water is, the better poised it is to resist ocean acidification.
Credit: Ifremer/ESA/CNES

Pollution talks are often about the atmopshere, but we tend to foger that the most part of the pollution goes into the oceans. About a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted by humans ends up in the seas, which causes them to become more acidic, significantly altering the oceanic environment on which corals, fish, and ultimately, we depend on.

Animals, News, Pollution

Mercury Level in Tuna Reaching Alarming Levels

It took years before people understood how airborne mercury from burning coal at power plants could accumulate in fish.  Jim Richmond/Flickr, CC BY-SA

The Mercury level in tuna has been a subject of debate for decades now. Paul Drevnick, Assistant Research Scientist at University of Michigan and his team analyzed data from over the past 50 years and found that mercury levels in Pacific yellowfin tuna, often marketed as ahi tuna, is increasing at 3.8% per year. If 3.8% per year doesn’t seem like much, that translates into a doubling at every 20 years. So in 50 years, mercury levels have increased 6 times.

Animals, Health & Medicine, News

Bacteria is also hereditary, from mother to child, just like DNA

Bacterial infection

We know that things like eye or skin colour are encoded in our DNA and passed down by our parents, but many other traits are significantly influenced by another hereditary mechanism: bacterial offspring. A paper in Nature suggests microbes are passed down from mother mice to pups, passing down traits similarly to how genes influence illness and health.