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Tag: Ocean

Ocean acidification altering the architecture of California mussel shells

Ocean acidification altering the architecture of California mussel shells

Science
Jan. 5 (UPI) -- California mussels aren't built like they used to be. According to new research, increasing ocean acidification is altering the structural makeup of mussel shells along the West Coast.Traditionally, long, cylindrical calcite crystals for neat and predictable rows in the shells of California mussels, Mytilus californianus. But as detailed in a new study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, that geometric consistency is no more."What we've seen in more recent shells is that the crystals are small and disoriented," study leader Sophie McCoy, assistant professor of biological science at Florida State University, said in a news release. "These are significant changes in how these animals produce their shells that can be tied to a shifting ocean chemistry."Scientists ...
Tiny ocean creatures can shred a plastic bag into 1.75 million pieces

Tiny ocean creatures can shred a plastic bag into 1.75 million pieces

Science
Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The ocean's miniature inhabitants can shred a small plastic bag -- the type used to hold groceries -- into 1.75 million microscopic fragments, according to a news study.When scientists from University of Plymouth in England fed a plastic bag to Orchestia gammarellus, a tiny species of amphipod abundant in the coastal waters of Northern Europe, they were surprised at the rate at which the trash was consumed and broken down.But while the amphipods broke down the plastic bag with tremendous speed and efficiency, they didn't exactly remove the trash from the environment. They simply turned one piece of plastic pollution into a lot of tiny pieces of plastic pollution -- 1.75 million microscopic fragments, to be exact.The findings -- detailed this week in the journal Marine Pollu...
UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

Science
Nations have agreed that the world needs to completely stop plastic waste from entering the oceans.The UN resolution, which is set to be sealed tomorrow, has no timetable and is not legally binding.But ministers at an environment summit in Kenya believe it will set the course for much tougher policies and send a clear signal to business.A stronger motion was rejected after the US would not agree to any specific, internationally agreed goals.Under the proposal, governments would establish an international taskforce to advise on combating what the UN's oceans chief has described as a planetary crisis.Environmentalists say ministers are starting to take plastic waste more seriously, but need to move much more quickly.Li Lin from the green group WWF said: "At last we are seeing some action on ...
Ocean plastic a 'planetary crisis' – UN

Ocean plastic a 'planetary crisis' – UN

Science
Life in the seas risks irreparable damage from a rising tide of plastic waste, the UN oceans chief has warned.Lisa Svensson said governments, firms and individual people must act far more quickly to halt plastic pollution."This is a planetary crisis," she said. "In a few short decades since we discovered the convenience of plastics, we are ruining the ecosystem of the ocean." She was speaking to BBC News ahead of a UN environment summit in Nairobi.Delegates at the meeting want tougher action against plastic litter.Ms Svensson had just been saddened by a Kenyan turtle hospital which treats animals that have ingested waste plastic.She saw a juvenile turtle named Kai, brought in by fishermen a month ago because she was floating on the sea surface.Plastic waste was immediately suspected, becau...
Ocean acidification harms young mussels

Ocean acidification harms young mussels

Science
Nov. 22 (UPI) -- New research shows mussels are especially vulnerable to the ill effects of ocean acidification during their early life stages.Mussels form a calcareous shell to protect themselves from predators. Ocean acidification disrupts this process. The latest research offered scientists new insights into the ways a decline in pH disrupts the calcification process during a mussels' larval stages."For the first time, we used two different methods to understand the calcification of one to two-day-old shelled larvae to estimate their sensitivity to climate change," Kirti Ramesh, a doctoral student in ecophysiology at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, said in a news release. "With the help of fluorescent dyes and specialized microscopy techniques, we were able to track the de...