Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘algae’

Larger Summer ‘Dead Zone’ Predicted for Chesapeake Bay –NOAA

Posted by feww on June 15, 2017

Human activities threaten marine food sources

This year’s summer Chesapeake Bay hypoxic or “dead zone” will be larger than average, predicted to grow by about 9 percent to 7.88 km³, said researchers at NOAA.

The Bay’s dead zone measurement started in 1950, and the 30-year mean maximum dead zone volume is 7.25 km³.

“The Bay’s hypoxic (low-oxygen) and anoxic (oxygen-free) zones are caused by excess nutrient pollution, primarily from human activities such as agriculture and wastewater. The excess nutrients stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which then sinks and decomposes in the water. The resulting low oxygen levels are insufficient to support most marine life and habitats in near-bottom waters, threatening the Bay’s crabs, oysters and other fisheries.”

The Bay forecast is based on models developed by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Scienceoffsite link and the University of Michigan.

 

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Most U.S. Rivers, Streams in Poor Condition for Aquatic Life

Posted by feww on March 27, 2013

Thousands of stream and river miles across the country under ‘significant pressure’: EPA

In its first comprehensive survey looking at the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the country, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found more than half – 55 percent – in poor condition for aquatic life.

The 2008-2009 National Rivers and Stream Assessment reflects the most recent data available on the condition of the water resources, EPA said.

[Does that mean the significant degradations that have occurred in the past 5 years not yet taken into account? Moderator]

“The health of our Nation’s rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters depends on the vast network of streams where they begin, and this new science shows that America’s streams and rivers are under significant pressure,” said Office of Water Acting Assistant Administrator.

The data was collected by EPA, state and tribal researchers from about 2,000 sites across the country.

biocon
National Rivers and Stream Assessment. Biological condition of the nation’s rivers and streams, based on the Macroinvertebrate Multimetric Index (EPA/NRSA).

Indicators Evaluated for NRSA

Biological Indicators

  • Benthic macroinvertebrates
  • Periphyton (algae)
  • Fish community

Chemical Indicators

  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen
  • Salinity
  • Acidity

Physical Indicators

  • Streambed sediments
  • In­stream fish habitat
  • Riparian vegetative cover
  • Riparian disturbance

Human Health Indicators

  • Enterococci (fecal indicator)
  • Mercury in fish tissue

The following are excerpts from EPA report:

Runoff Contaminated by Fertilizers

  • Nitrogen and phosphorus are at excessive levels. Twenty-seven percent of the nation’s rivers and streams have excessive levels of nitrogen, and 40 percent have high levels of phosphorus. Too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the water—known as nutrient pollution—causes significant increases in algae, which harms water quality, food resources and habitats, and decreases the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive. Nutrient pollution has impacted many streams, rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters for the past several decades, resulting in serious environmental and human health issues, and impacting the economy.

Decreased Vegetation Cover and Increased Human Disturbance

  • Streams and rivers are at an increased risk due to decreased vegetation cover and increased human disturbance. These conditions can cause streams and rivers to be more vulnerable to flooding, erosion, and pollution. Vegetation along rivers and streams slows the flow of rainwater so it does not erode stream banks, removes pollutants carried by rainwater and helps maintain water temperatures that support healthy streams for aquatic life. Approximately 24 percent of the rivers and streams monitored were rated poor due to the loss of healthy vegetative cover.

[Whopping] Increase in Bacteria Levels.

  • Increased bacteria levels. High bacteria levels were found in nine percent of stream and river miles making those waters potentially unsafe for swimming and other recreation (samples exceed an enterococci threshold level for protecting human health.)

Increased Mercury Levels

  • Increased mercury levels. More than 13,144 miles of river lengths (streams were not evaluated) have fish with mercury levels that may be unsafe for human consumption. For most people, the health risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern, but some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system.

NRSA Sample Sites

NRSA sample sites
National Rivers and Stream Assessment Sample Sites.

Related Links

water-pollution.JPG
“Troubled Waters” by U.S. PRIG

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sea Sponges Use ‘Optical Fibers’ to Transmit Light

Posted by feww on November 11, 2008

Why Sea Sponges Beam Light Deep Inside Their Bodies


An orange puffball sponge Tethya aurantia Photo credit: Steve Lonhart / SIMoN NOAA.

Sponges grow large by feeding on carbon, nitrogen and other metabolites, which are provided by smaller organisms including algae and cyanobacteria. However, algae and similar organisms require light to survive.

So, how do they survive deep inside the sponges without any apparent access to light?

That mystery now seems to have been solved. A team of researchers at the University of Stuttgart have discovered that sponges use glass-rod structures, like optical fibers, called spicules to beam light deep inside their bodies.

The researchers placed light sensitive paper deep inside living sponges of species Tethya aurantium in a darkened seawater tank and then shone light on the surface of the sponges. When they recovered the  paper, they discovered dark spots corresponding exactly to the end of each spicule, where the light had exited.

The researchers tested another sponge that grew without the specules, in a control experiment. They confirmed that the light did not transmit without the spicules.

Porifera: Skeletons

Sponges, like all animals, possess some sort of a skeleton that gives their bodies shape.

As a whole, poriferans have diverse skeletal elements including calcareous laminae, organic filaments, and siliceous and calcareous spicules.

The skeletons of each of the major poriferan groups are distinctive and have been used to reconstruct their evolutionary relationships.

Spicules come in an array of beautiful shapes, as seen in the SEM images to the right.

These images were obtained using UCMP’s Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope.

Spicules are often categorized by size, the larger being megascleres and the smaller microscleres.

Some spicules are formed of the mineralized substances calcium carbonate and silica, while others are made of an organic substance called spongin.

Spongin skeletons were and are used as scrubbers in bathtubs, though they are fairly expensive. The ubiquitous bathtub accessory called a lufa is NOT a sponge, but a plant. The mineralized forms are considerably more hard and are not as frequently used for commercial purposes. Image and Caption: UCMP.

Posted in Ecology, light Transmission, marine biology, spicule, symbiotic | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Eight Steps that Help Kill More of Our Fish

Posted by feww on May 7, 2008

How Your Car’s Exhaust Emissions Helps Create Dead Zones and Kill Our Fish

Step One: You fill up the tank (gasoline is a processed fossil fuel product).


REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (Image may be subject to copyright!)

Step Two: As you drive around, your car burns the fossil fuel and produces greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants, which are spewed out through the exhaust pipe.


Houston Evacuation – Hurricane Rita

Step three: Sunlight interacts with greenhouse gases emitted from your car, producing ground-level ozone.


Only about 12.6 percent of the gas your car consumes is used for driving!


Step Four: High ozone levels damage crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, reducing growth rates and crop yields, as well as making the crops less resistant to insects and pests. (In 1995, ground-level ozone caused $2.7 billion in crop damage nationwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.) Current estimates for the crop damages caused by ground-level ozone stand at about $3 billion each year in the US alone.

ozone-plant-damage
(L) Ozone-damaged plant; (R) normal plant. Photo courtesy of Gene Daniels/U.S. EPA.

Step Five: To increase growth rates, boost crop yields and fight pests, farmer use increasingly larger amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.


Applying Chemical Fertilizers. Photo AVRCD. (Image may be subject to copyright!)

Step Six: Nutrient-rich chemical runoffs (pollution) from agricultural fields are washed by rain into streams, storm sewers and rivers and end up into our oceans, seas and other water bodies.


Summer rains wash nutrients, dissolved organic matter and sediment out of the mouths of rivers, into the sea, sparking large phytoplankton blooms. South America presents two excellent examples of river outlets where phytoplankton tends to thrive. Along the northern part of the continent the mouth of the Orinoco River opens into the Caribbean. Along the Eastern side of South America, the mighty Amazon exits its thousand mile journey. (Text NASA)

Step Seven: Dead Zones that cover tens of thousands of square kilometers of waterways are created by pollution-fed algae, which deprive fish and other marine life of oxygen.


Gulf of Mexico: sediment filled water meets the ocean.

Step Eight: Deprived of oxygen, fish and other marine life die.


Dead fish are seen on a basket of a fish farm off a coast of Menidi village in the Amvrakikos Gulf, some 350Km northeast of Athens February 28, 2008. Local marine biologist Vangelis Dimitriou said that up to 800 tonnes of fish including sea bass and sea bream died from a lack of oxygen [hypoxia], after swimming through a large pocket of water where the temperatures suddenly dropped at a drastic rate. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis (GREECE). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Related Links:

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