Polar Bear Brains Contain Environmental Toxins

Written by on July 29, 2013 in Marine Life, Other Marine Life

Earthquakes Release Massive Amounts of Methane

New research shows that policies regarding climate change need to account for the amount of methane released from the seabed during earthquakes. Researchers found a vast amount of methane seeping from the seabed near the Makran subduction zone, where an 8.0 magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan in 1945, trigering a massive tsunami. This is the first study to show that a single quake cause a massive release of methane.

Environmental Toxins Enter the Brain Tissue of Polar Bears

Polar bears.

Polar bears. Photo credit: ucumari via photopin cc.

Polar bears already face a grim future as they lose more and more of their habitat to climate change, but now they also have to worry about being poisoned. Researchers recently found several environmental toxins in the brain tissue of polar bears living in Scoresby Sound in Greenland. The toxins (PerFluoroAlkyl Substances or PFASs) are used in some industrial products and are resistant to biological degradation. They have entered the Arctic food chain by air and sea and, once ingested, are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which would also happen in humans.

Winners and losers in a warming ocean

Researchers recently developed a model that investigates the potential effects of climate change on phytoplankton, the basis for the marine food web. The model shows that under the most extreme climate change scenario, by the end of the century half the population of phytoplankton that existed at the beginning of the century will be gone and replaced with a completely new species. These changes in phytoplankton will ultimately have an impact on the whole food chain.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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