Ecosystems

Plastic pollution in the Antarctic worse than expected
June 19, 2017 07:22 AM - British Antarctic Survey

The continent is considered to be a pristine wilderness compared to other regions and was thought to be relatively free from plastic pollution. However new findings by scientists from University of Hull and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have revealed that recorded levels of microplastics are five times higher than you would expect to find from local sources such as research stations and ships.

Increase in ciguatera fish poisoning cases in Europe
June 16, 2017 10:10 AM - Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)

Fish is a healthy diet, it supplies important omega-3 fatty acids and trace elements like iodine and selenium. However, eating fish caught in certain regions can sometimes also have its risks. In Bavaria, there have recently been reports of multiple cases of diarrhoea, vomiting and cold pain following consumption of imported deep-frozen fish. The symptoms are typical signs of ciguatera - one of the most frequent fish poisonings worldwide caused by ciguatoxins in edible fish.

Increase in ciguatera fish poisoning cases in Europe
June 16, 2017 10:10 AM - Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)

Fish is a healthy diet, it supplies important omega-3 fatty acids and trace elements like iodine and selenium. However, eating fish caught in certain regions can sometimes also have its risks. In Bavaria, there have recently been reports of multiple cases of diarrhoea, vomiting and cold pain following consumption of imported deep-frozen fish. The symptoms are typical signs of ciguatera - one of the most frequent fish poisonings worldwide caused by ciguatoxins in edible fish.

Feeling the Heat: How Fish Are Migrating from Warming Waters
June 16, 2017 08:43 AM - Yale Environment 360

The Cape Cod Canal is a serpentine artificial waterway that winds eight miles from Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay. On warm summer evenings, anglers jostle along its banks casting for striped bass. That’s what 29-year-old Justin Sprague was doing the evening of August 6, 2013, when he caught a fish from the future. 

At first, Sprague thought the enormous fish that engulfed his Storm blue herring lure was a shark. But as he battled the behemoth in the gloaming — the fish leaping repeatedly, crashing down in sheets of spray — he realized he’d hooked something far weirder. When the fisherman finally dragged his adversary onto the beach, a small crowd gathered to admire the creature’s metallic body, flared dorsal fin, and rapier-like bill. Sprague had caught a sailfish.

Feeling the Heat: How Fish Are Migrating from Warming Waters
June 16, 2017 08:43 AM - Yale Environment 360

The Cape Cod Canal is a serpentine artificial waterway that winds eight miles from Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay. On warm summer evenings, anglers jostle along its banks casting for striped bass. That’s what 29-year-old Justin Sprague was doing the evening of August 6, 2013, when he caught a fish from the future. 

At first, Sprague thought the enormous fish that engulfed his Storm blue herring lure was a shark. But as he battled the behemoth in the gloaming — the fish leaping repeatedly, crashing down in sheets of spray — he realized he’d hooked something far weirder. When the fisherman finally dragged his adversary onto the beach, a small crowd gathered to admire the creature’s metallic body, flared dorsal fin, and rapier-like bill. Sprague had caught a sailfish.

Ensuring the long-term success of Nova Scotia's oyster sector
June 16, 2017 08:20 AM - Dalhousie University

After much of Cape Breton’s oyster sector closed in 2002, Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science and Aquaculture in Dal’s Faculty of Agriculture, was determined to find a way to rebuild this 100-year-old economic and cultural activity.

The sector’s closure was the result of a pathogen found in oysters located in the Bras D’Ors Lakes. Known as the Haplosporidium nelsonii parasite (MSX), the disease causes high mortality in oyster populations but has no impact on humans.

Hot start, followed by cold shock
June 15, 2017 04:21 PM - Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

The initial phases of animal evolution proceeded faster than hitherto supposed: New analyses suggest that the first animal phyla emerged in rapid succession – prior to the global Ice Age that set in around 700 million years ago.

The fossil record reveals that almost all of the animal phyla known today had come into existence by the beginning of the Cambrian Period some 540 million years ago. The earliest known animal fossils already exhibit complex morphologies, which implies that animals must have originated long before the onset of the Cambrian.

Hot start, followed by cold shock
June 15, 2017 04:21 PM - Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

The initial phases of animal evolution proceeded faster than hitherto supposed: New analyses suggest that the first animal phyla emerged in rapid succession – prior to the global Ice Age that set in around 700 million years ago.

The fossil record reveals that almost all of the animal phyla known today had come into existence by the beginning of the Cambrian Period some 540 million years ago. The earliest known animal fossils already exhibit complex morphologies, which implies that animals must have originated long before the onset of the Cambrian.

Widespread snowmelt in West Antarctica during unusually warm summer
June 15, 2017 09:28 AM - The Ohio State University

An area of West Antarctica more than twice the size of California partially melted in 2016 when warm winds forced by an especially strong El Niño blew over the continent, an international group of researchers has determined.

In the June 15 issue of the journal Nature Communications, they report that the warm spell persisted for more than two weeks in January 2016. Satellite data revealed a mix of melted snow and ice over most of the Ross Ice Shelf—a thick platform of floating ice that channels about a third of the ice flowing from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet into the ocean.

NOAA, USGS and partners predict larger summer dead zone for the Chesapeake Bay
June 15, 2017 08:34 AM - USGS

Scientists expect this year’s summer Chesapeake Bay hypoxic or “dead zone” — an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and aquatic life — will be larger than average, approximately 1.89 cubic miles, or nearly the volume of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.

Measurements for the Bay’s dead zone go back to 1950, and the 30-year mean maximum dead zone volume is 1.74 cubic miles.

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