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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 ‘ocean pollution’

Beached 44ft whale dies on NE UK beach

Posted by feww on June 1, 2011

Image of the Day

Probable Cause of Death: Malnourishment from Beaching
Probable Cause of Beaching: Ocean Pollution


A 44ft (13.4m) long whale died shortly after becoming stranded on a beach on Teesside, NE England. Photo Credit: Dave Cocks, RNLI/ via BBC

A spokesman for International Fund for Animal Welfare said whales are stranded for a variety of reasons:

“While it is not possible to pinpoint the cause in every case, we do know that human activity in the seas is increasing the threats to these highly intelligent and complex marine mammals.

“Manmade ocean noise, from shipping, oil and gas excavation and naval sonar, makes it ever harder for whales to navigate, communicate, find food or mates and avoid prey.”

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Noise from Oil Exploration, Tourist Boats Kills 150 Whales

Posted by feww on December 28, 2009

Our thanks to TEAA for the links

Noise Pollution from NZ Oil Exploration, Tourist Boats and Toxic Pollution Strand 150 Whales to Their Deaths

Up to 150 whales died in less than 48 hours after two beachings, New Zealand’s  Department of Conservation reported.


Dead whales in Colville Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Photo credit: Sally and Doug Morrison/ The Southland Times. Image may be subject to copyright. See Fair Use Notice.

About 30 pilot whales died after they became stranded on Coromandel peninsula yesterday and will be buried by the local Maori.

Meanwhile, up to 120 long-finned pilot whales, both calves and adults, were found dead  at the Farewell Spit on Boxing Day.

“More offshore wells have been drilled in the last two years than the rest of the decade combined: 35 on and offshore wells were drilled between January 2008 and July 2009 alone,” said a report.


Dead whales lie on the beach at Farewell Spit on New Zealand’s South Island December 28, 2009. More than 100 pilot whales died after being stranded at Farewell Spit, according to local media. The beached whales were discovered by a tourist plane on Saturday. Photo: New Zealand Department of Conservation/Handout via Reuters.

Each year about 2.5 million tourists visit New Zealand, straining its fragile ecosystems to the breaking point, creating a massive litany of different pollutions, including noise.

Mendo Coast Current wrote: “Studies show that these cetaceans, which once communicated over thousands of miles to forage and mate, are losing touch with each other, the experts said at a U.N. wildlife conference in Rome.”

“The sound of a seismic test, used to locate hydrocarbons beneath the seabed, can spread 1,800 miles under water, said Veronica Frank, an official with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. A study by her group found that the blue whale, which used to communicate across entire oceans, has lost 90 percent of its range over the past 40 years.”

Environmental experts are studying numerous cases of beached whales and dolphins that are believed to have been caused by sound pollution, according to Simmonds.

Just two weeks ago at least five whales died after nine were beached in Mediterranean off the  southern coast off Italy, an unusual place for whales to beach themselves.

‘A massive beaching is extremely rare in the Mediterranean,’ biologist Maurizio Wurtz at the University of Genoa said.

Noise pollution from seismic surveys for oil and gas as well as naval activities are believed to have confused whales by interfering  with their communication, thus leaving them stranded and ultimately dead,  many  Conservationists and biologists say.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says man-made ocean noise inhibits cetaceans’ communication and disrupts their feeding.

The level of ocean noise in some regions is doubling each decade, according to IFAW.  “Humanity is literally drowning out marine mammals.”

[NOTE: We are also reminded that Coromandel peninsula is the same area where NZ Public Medical Office of Health reported “particularly high” levels of paralytic shellfish poison. See: Toxic shellfish from New Zealand can cause paralysis and respiratory failure within 12 hours of being consumed.  http://newzeelend.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/global-food-safety-alert-toxic-nz-shellfish-warning/ ]

Related Links:

Posted in eco-terrorism, Endangered Species, ocean, Ocean Acidity, Seismic Surveys | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A third of U.S. birds endangered

Posted by msrb on March 20, 2009

About a third  of all U.S. bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline, Hawaiian birds face a “borderline ecological disaster, The State of the Birds

Birds are a national treasure and a heritage we share with people around the world, as billions of migratory birds follow the seasons across oceans and continents.

The following are highlights  of the report overview. The report can be viewed online at: http://www.stateofthebirds.org/

The boreal forest stretches south frmo the arctic tundra across an area larger than the Amazon rainforest, a blanket of spruces, birch, peat bogs, and other wetlands. Occurring mostly within Canada, the North American boreal forest extends into the United States in Alaska, in states bordering the Great Lakes, and in northern New England. Photo by Garth Lenz

  • Millions of birds travel from around the globe to the arctic each year. Eighty-five bird species rely on the arctic’s long summer days and abundant insect prey to raise their young.
  • Disturbance to tundra from energy exploration and changes caused by global warming are affecting the birds’ food base and transforming arctic habitats. Arctic-breeding birds also face numerous threats during extensive spring and fall migrations.
  • Reducing emissions is critical to slow global climate change, which is already affecting the arctic. Energy development and transportation plans should incorporate the conservation needs of birds.

The future of arctic habitats and birds depends on our ability to curb global climate change and to explore energy resources with minimal impact to wildlife.


Alaska’s arctic coastal plain includes some of the world’s most productive wetlands for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. The arctic region also includes drier northern uplands and treeless alpine areas on mountaintops. Photo by Gerrit Vyn.

  • Nearly one-quarter of all U.S. birds rely on freshwater wetlands, including more than 50 shorebird species, 17 long-legged waders, and 44 species of ducks, geese, and swans.
  • Wetland bird populations are well below historic levels but management and conservation measures have contributed to increases of many wetland birds, including hunted waterfowl.
  • Degradation and destruction of wetlands reduce clean water and other benefits to society and eliminate critical areas needed by wetland birds.
  • Although coastal areas occupy less than 10% of our nation’s land area, they support a large proportion of our living resources, including more than 170 bird species.
  • Generalist birds, such as gulls, have been extremely successful in developed areas, but specialized species, such as migrating shorebirds, have declined.
  • Coastal habitats continue to suffer from unplanned and unsustainable housing development, pollution, and warming oceans caused by climate change.

Oceans may appear to be homogeneous but are composed of distinct habitats created by massive circulating currents. Human activity has affected the health of our oceans even far from land. Photo by Brian L. Sullivan

Pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and oil harm ocean birds. Major oil spills kill thousands of birds, but small spills and chronic releases from boats and ports also cause significant harm.

Many seabirds consume floating plastic and may feed it to their chicks. Ninety percent of Laysan Albatrosses surveyed on the Hawaiian Islands had plastic debris in their stomachs.

  • At least 81 bird species inhabit our nation’s marine waters, spending their lives at sea and returning to islands and coasts to nest.
  • At least 39% of bird species in U.S. marine waters are believed to be declining, but data are lacking for many species. Improved monitoring is imperative for conservation.
  • Ocean birds travel through waters of many nations and are increasingly threatened by fishing bycatch, pollution, problems on breeding grounds, and food supplies altered by rising ocean temperatures.
  • Aridlands harbor more than 80 nesting bird species, including many unique and beautiful birds found only in deserts, sagebrush, or chaparral.
  • More than 75% of birds that nest only in aridlands are declining and 39% of all aridland birds are species of conservation concern.
  • Habitat loss from urban development, habitat degradation from overgrazing and invasive plants, and a changing climate are causing significant problems for many aridland birds.

Related Links:

Posted in Canaries Dying, Hawaiian birds, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oceans, Where Life Started, Are Dying – Part III

Posted by feww on March 21, 2008

WILD FACTS SERIES –
Tourism: The Most Destructive Human Activity After Warfare

  • After warfare, tourism [euphemistically eco-tourism] is the most destructive human activity. ~ EDRO

  • Tourism [euphemistically and deceitfully referred to as eco-tourism] Is Eco-Terrorism!

  • A Definition of Eco-terrorism by Paul Watson: An act that terrorizes other species and threatens the ecological systems of the planet.

Basic ecological facts:

1. Human activities degrade ecosystems.
2. Intensive human activities destroy ecosystems.
3. After warfare, tourism is the most destructive human activity. ~
EDRO

An excerpt from: Beautiful coastlines disappearing under concrete
Humans may live in almost every corner of the globe, but our favourite place is the sea. As coastlines around the world are [rapidly] turned into new housing, holiday homes, and tourist developments, this intense human presence is taking a huge toll on marine ecosystems and species.

  • Coastal areas are the most densely populated areas.
  • Tourism is the world’s top growth industry.
  • The coasts are a powerful magnet for tourism.
  • The continental shelf is among the most productive and biologically diverse areas on Earth.
  • About 80% of all tourist flock to coastal areas.
  • Beaches and coral reefs are the most popular destinations.
  • The coral reefs in Honolulu, Hong Kong, Manila, and Singapore have been destroyed mainly from coastal development.
  • Eight of the world’s ten mega cities are located on the coast: Buenos Aires, Calcutta, Lagos, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New York City, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

“Massive influxes of tourists, often to a relatively small area, have a huge impact. They add to the pollution, waste, and water needs of the local population, putting local infrastructure and habitats under enormous pressure. For example, 85% of the 1.8 million people who visit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are concentrated in two small areas, Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands, which together have a human population of just 130,000 or so.” WWF Reported.

In New Zealand about one half of a million tourists go dolphin watching and more than one million visitors whale-watching off Kaikoura each year. As a result, up to 10 per cent of bottlenose dolphins in New Zealand’s Fiordland are injured and scarred by collisions with boats.

The 2.6 million “eco-tourists” who fly to New Zealand each year to watch whales and dolphins destroy the marine environment and harm the creatures they come in contact with. But the marine pollution, the harm and the damage they inflict on the defenseless creatures is only part of the overall picture. The visitors consume an estimated 3.2 billion gallons of fuel to fly in and out of New Zealand.

Overdevelopment
The largest sources of stress to the marine ecosystems are mega developments in coastal areas built to attract tourists including airports, resorts, golf courses, marinas, duty-free shopping centers and amusement parks.

In many areas “mangrove forests and seagrass meadows have been removed to create open beaches tourist developments such as piers and other structures have been built directly on top of coral reefs.”


Mangrove Forest (Photo Credit: NOAA)

The Insanity of Tourism

  • Many tourist resorts discharge their untreated sewage into the coastal waters.
  • Jet skiing, boating, sailing, windsurfing, diving, snorkeling, and fishing have destroyed coral reefs in many parts of the world.
  • Building Dams, dykes, and other protection against storm surges and high tides destroy ecosystems and rare habitats like salt marshes.
  • Providing additional food and freshwater for millions of tourists is a major problem. Dramatic increases in consumption of seafood leads to overfishing. Local sources of freshwater and other natural resources are degraded. Collecting or trading in marine souvenirs accelerate the rate by which marine ecosystems are degraded and destroyed.
  • Increasing numbers of dolphins, whales, marine turtles, sharks, seals and birds are disturbed, injured or killed from accidents with large numbers of boats ferrying “eco-tourists” close to their habitats.

Superjumbo Floating Towns

Increasingly, popular cruise ships capable of carrying up to 6,000 passengers and crew are a major source of marine pollution. Weighing in excess of 160,000 tons, the billion-dollar 340-meter long sea monsters (they contain 1,700-seat theaters, shopping malls, a hospital and 3 massive wave pools one with a surf simulator) pollute the marine environment through dumping millions of tons of untreated sewage, garbage cleaning agents, chemicals and bilge oil (a mixture of oil, water, lubricants, and other pollutants) as well as tens of billions of tons of ballast water. [The Floating Towns consume about 13 tons of fuel per hour!]

“Dumped bilge oil accounts for nearly 10% of all oil entering the oceans each year. On the eastern coast of Canada alone, dumped bilge oil kills at least 300,000 seabirds each year – more than the total number killed by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989.” WWF reports .

The Fastest-growing Sector
Tourism is the world’s fastest-growing economic sector; it generates about 12 percent of Global Domestic Product, GDP, Employs about 250 million people, and transports nearly 1billion overseas travelers per year.

The Continental Shelf

The continental shelf, the extended perimeter of each continent and its associated coastal plain, holds about 85 percent of all ocean resources.

sediment.png
The Coast and its associated continental shelf. Credit: wikimedia


cyan-hl.png
Credit NOAA
. Source: Wikimedia

Comments by Readers
:

[Quote] Unless you can walk, swim or skydive to your “eco-tourism” destination WITHOUT stressing the earth, [eating, drinking otherwise] littering the environment or relieving yourself during the visit, “eco-tourism” IS an oxymoron.

Eco tourism destroys biodiversity and harms local communities AND is a greenwash. http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/eco5.htm

Eco tourism is harming marine wildlife. http://www.cdnn.info/eco/e020829/e020829.html

dead-baby-dolphins.jpg
The Baby Dolphins Death Row in New Zealand

A good Eco-Tourist stays at home; otherwise, they build a Hotel on top of the Eco-Systems they think they are saving. http://www.hobotraveler.com/2005/05/agro-tourism.html

cut-open-by-ecotourism.jpg
The New Zealand Deep Cut: photos courtesy of Care For The Wild International

Adventure travel and Eco-tourism destroy the very things they are supposed to venerate http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000Fwi

Building of dams and development of eco tourism destroy the ecology of the regions and the natural environment. http://nara.tumblr.com/post/8465159

A major impact on the forest are the pressures caused by accommodating the physical needs and comforts of tourists; impacts of providing wood for fuel, accommodation and access routes, together with the problems caused by tourists’ rubbish, put a large stress on the environment. For example, litter has been strewn along the trails of popular Himalayan tourist routes, and the alpine forest decimated by trekkers looking for fuel to heat their food and bath water [and dump their feces]. http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/TLSF/theme_c/mod16/uncom16t03s02.htm

The “Knights of Eco Tourism” [and their airlines, hotel chains…] are the rubber barons of 21st century. [end quote] ~ submitted by Lisa

[Quote] Monetizing Earth’s ecosystems is the most troubling issue that hasn’t been addressed. The argument that “looking at only the damage side of eco-tourism is ignoring the impact of whatever activity the land might otherwise be put to if not for eco-tourism” is fallacious. The former British Crime [Genocide] Minister, Tony Blair, was once asked why Britain under his Labor government exports more weapons then ever before [about $10 billion each year]. His reply was, if Britain didn’t export weapons someone else would! [If such fallacy goes unchecked, the only possible outcome of the vicious spiral of destruction in any system, social or ecological, would be the ultimate demise of that system, its total collapse.]

Tourism, by definition, is a business activity that involves providing accommodation, food, services, entertainment… for people who visit a place for pleasure. In our exponential growth culture, businesses must grow exponentially in order to remain viable, let alone be profitable. Exponential growth in tourism means larger numbers of visitors crowding into the same attractions; in the case of eco-tourism, frequently, fragile ecosystems are damaged irreversibly. Eco-tourism, like plague, destroys everything in its path.

One of the links Lisa posted, “Eco tourism harming New Zealand’s marine wildlife,” is about the mounting impact of tourism on whales and dolphins around New Zealand’s coastline: http://www.cdnn.info/eco/e020829/e020829.html

injured-mutiliated-killed.jpg
Hector’s Dolphin: More marine mammals are being injured and killed in collisions with boats carrying Eco-tourists in New Zealand. Photo courtesy of CDNN

Here are some of the facts quoted from the report:

About one half of a million tourists go dolphin watching in New Zealand. “Whale-watching off Kaikoura attracts up to one million visitors a year.”

“In Fiordland, 7 per cent of bottlenose dolphins had been scarred by collisions with boats, said Otago University marine ecologist David Lusseau.”

“‘I am afraid Doubtful Sound will become another Milford Sound, where about 7 per cent of the population bear scars from boat collisions and where dolphins avoid the fiord when boat traffic is too intense,’ he said.”

As for the pollution created by the air travel to New Zealand, “About 1.56million visitors from Northern Hemisphere [about 62% of the total number of tourists who visited New Zealand in 2006] produced a total of 17million tons of CO2e on their return flights to New Zealand last year, which significantly contributed to further deterioration of our failing ecosystems.”
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0611/S00286.htm

To watch dolphins, whales… the “eco-tourists” from North America and Europe consumed about 2.71 billion gallons of fuel on their return flight to New Zealand.

As Lisa says, a good eco-tourist should stay at home to avoid flying, driving and building hotels, roads and other infrastructure on top of the eco-systems they are trying to save.

There’s no reason why concerned local communities couldn’t take advantage of the 21st century’s bleeding-edge technology videoing their precious ecosystems and broadcasting to paid subscribers (the true eco-tourists) throughout the world. Financially, it’s a much more viable option. It makes perfect commercial sense when compared to building harmful, expensive accommodation and infrastructure accommodating the tourists. Environmentally, it’s an infinitely more intelligent option because of the near zero impact on both the local ecosystems and biosphere. [End quote] ~ A Concerned Reader

Related Links:

Coastal Development

Coastal development like below projects destroy marine habitat.

coastal-development.jpg
Another Coastal Development. Source: Social responses (PDF)


Huntington Beach, California.


Image may be subject to copyright. (Source Google)


Source: Blog of San Diego


Acapulco Hotels, Mexico. Image may be subject to copyright. (Source Google)


China (Source: Watthead) Image may be subject to copyright.


Image may be subject to copyright. (Source Google)



The Palm, Deirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Copyright © 2007 The Emirates Network
See FEWW Fair Use Notice.



The Palm, Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Copyright © 2007 The Emirates Network
See FEWW Fair Use Notice.


The Palm, Jebel Ali, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Copyright © 2007 The Emirates Network
See FEWW Fair Use Notice.

Plastic Pollution

alba.jpg
moore-trashed-pacificnov03a.jpg
(Above) Albatross chick (Photo Credit: Cynthia Vanderlip. Source: mindfully.org)
(Below) Decomposed carcass of a Laysan albatross on Kure Atoll (North Pacific)
with gut full of plastic objects.
“The bird probably mistook the plastics for food and
ingested them while foraging for prey. The plastic goes down the gullet quite easily.
But since it is not digested, as in the original plan for all life, it gets stuck before
exiting the stomach. There it sits to block the entry and digestion of legitimate food.
Even the tiniest of pieces can cause blockages.” (source:
mindfully.org)

Only if all nations adopt a “Zero Waste” policy, could marine pollution be stopped!

ocean-polution-credit-gavin-newman.jpg
Ocean Pollution: Shamefully yours! (Credit: Gavin Newman)

Impacts of Coastal Armoring

“Environmental impacts of coastal armoring are both site specific and cumulative. Coastal armoring can potentially damage or alter local coastal habitats, deprive beaches of sand, lead to accelerated erosion of adjacent beaches, hinder access and present problems with public safety.”

Photo Credit: NOAA

Coming Soon:
Oil Pollution

References:

  • Landry, C.A., S. Manning, and A.O. Cheek. 2004. Hypoxia suppresses reproduction in Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis. e.hormone 2004 conference. Oct. 27-30. New Orleans.
  • Murphy, C. . . . P. Thomas, et al. 2004. Modeling the effects of multiple anthropogenic and environmental stressors on Atlantic croaker populations using nested simulation models and laboratory data. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
  • Johanning, K., et al. 2004. Assessment of molecular interaction between low oxygen and estrogen in fish cell culture. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
  • Nutrients in the Nation’s Waters–Too Much of a Good Thing? U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1136.

Related Links:

Please see our Fair Use Notice!


Posted in ballast water, bilge oil, dolphins, Overdevelopment, Water pollution, whales | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Oceans, Where Life Started, Are Dying – Part II

Posted by feww on March 16, 2008

WILD FACTS SERIES – Lethal Marine Pollution

Major Problems: Fertilizer Runoff; Tourism; Coastal Developments; Marine Transportation; and Ocean Warming due to climate change

Pollution Load

About 80% of the pollution load in the oceans originates from land-based activities directly affecting up to 80 percent of the world’s coastal areas and threatening the well-being of up to 4.5 billion people who live within a 60km radius of the coast, according to the UNEP (about 2billion people live in coastal urban centers).

mega-cities
Of the world’s 23 mega-cities (those with over 2.5 million inhabitants),
16 are in the coastal belt and are growing at a rate of about one million
people per day. ~ UN (Image credit: NOAA)

The sources of water pollution include

  • Municipal and industrial wastes
  • Agricultural runoff
  • Atmospheric deposition


Creeping Dead Zone (Pub. Domain. Credit NASA)

Creeping Dead Zones

The hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the oceans are called dead zones. The 200 or so oxygen depleted regions in our oceans are normally caused by nutrients from runoff (chemical fertilizer, manure, sewage…). The increase in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous in the water is called eutrophication, a process that promotes excessive growth and decay of weedy plants and that is likely to cause severe reductions in water quality. When the decaying organic matter produced by aquatic vegetation or phytoplankton (an algal bloom) sinks to the bottom it undergoes breakdown by bacteria (bacterial respiration), a process which consumes the dissolved oxygen in the water and produces carbon dioxide. Respiration kills zooplankton, fish, crabs, clams, shrimp, and all other species that swim in the water or dwell on the muddy bottom of the lakes, rivers, estuaries and other water bodies. The water becomes cloudy and turns to a shade of red, yellow, green, or brown.

The size of aquatic and marine dead zones varies from about 1 to 70,000 square kilometers.


A dense bloom of poisonous cyanobacteria in the Potomac River estuary
(Credit:NOAA)

Gulf of Mexico

The largest dead zone in the US coastal waters measures about 25,000 square kilometer in the Gulf of Mexico caused by high-nutrient runoff dumped by the Mississippi River whose vast drainage basin covers the Midwest, the center of U.S. agribusiness. Another dead zone off the coast of Texas was discovered in July 2007.

According to a USGS study most of nutrients (75 percent of nitrogen and phosphorus) come from just nine states (total of 31 states share the basin) in the Mississippi River Basin: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee. Some 12 percent of the pollution originates from urban sources.

  • Corn and soybean cultivation is responsible for the largest share of nitrogen runoff to the Gulf.
  • Animal manure (see also New Zealand and Australia) on pasture and rangelands contribute a total of 37 percent to phosphors pollution.
  • Crop cultivation is responsible for a total of 43 percent of phosphorus runoff.

Low oxygen levels in the waters of the Gulf Coast have affected the fish reproductive system causing “decreased size of reproductive organs, low egg counts and lack of spawning.” The nation’s largest and most productive fisheries are threatened as the result.

The Following excerpts are from Wikipedia: In a study of the Gulf killifish by the Southeastern Louisiana University done in three bays along the Gulf Coast, fish living in bays where the oxygen levels in the water dropped to 1 to 2 parts per million (ppm) for 3 or more hours per day were found to have smaller reproductive organs. The male gonads were 34% to 50% as large as males of similar size in bays where the oxygen levels were normal (6 to 8 ppm). Females were found to have ovaries that were half as large as those in normal oxygen levels. The number of eggs in females living in hypoxic waters were only one-seventh the number of eggs in fish living in normal oxygen levels. (Landry, et al., 2004)

Another study by the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute was done on the Atlantic croaker fish in Pensacola Bay, Florida. The study was of year-old croakers that live in an estuary that has summer-long hypoxic conditions. During the study, none of the fish spawned at the expected time, or later. Examination of sample fish determined that they lacked mature eggs or sperm. (Murphy, et al., 2004)

Fish raised in laboratory created hypoxic conditions showed extremely low sex-hormone concentrations and increased elevation of activity in two genes triggered by the hypoxia-inductile factor (HIF) protein. Under hypoxic conditions, HIF pairs with another protein, ARNT. The two then bind to DNA in cells, activating genes in those cells.

Under normal oxygen conditions, ARNT combines with estrogen to activate genes. Hypoxic cells in a test tube didn’t react to estrogen placed in the tube. HIF appears to render ARNT unavailable to interact with estrogen, providing a mechanism by which hypoxic conditions alter reproduction in fish. (Johanning, et. al, 2004)

It might be expected that fish would flee this potential suffocation, but they are often quickly rendered unconscious and doomed. Slow moving bottom-dwelling creatures like clams, lobsters and oysters are unable to escape. All colonial animals are extinguished. The normal mineralization and recycling that occurs among benthic life-forms is stifled.

According to USGS Associate Director for Water, Dr. Robert Hirsch, the number of water quality monitoring stations along the Mississippi River Basin region has been decimated from 425 stations 15 years ago to just 32.


A combined sewer overflow runoff entering Fall Creek in Indianapolis, Indiana
(photo credit: Charles Crawford; courtesy USGS).

Agrofuel [biofuel] Crop Impact in The Gulf of Mexico

According to a computer model designed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of British Columbia, the exponentially increasing amounts of fertilizer needed to meet US production goals for biofuel production, especially the corn-ethanol, would increase the nitrogen loading from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico by up to 19 percent, increasing the size of dead zones.

The Mississippi River is about 2,300 miles (3,705 kilometers) long, according to the US Geologic survey. The River Basin or Watershed drains 41% of land in United States, an area of about 1.8 million square miles. Thirty-one states and two Canadian provinces are included in the watershed. The Mississippi carries an average of 500,000 tons of sediment each day.

The US Pacific Coast

Dead zone in the US Pacific coast covers an area of about 3,000 square kilometers. Worsened by strong winds caused by climate change, the Pacific dead zone has reoccurred every summer since 2002. See Photos of research during hypoxic events off the Oregon Coast

ROW

Other countries and regions where other dead zones have been reported since the 1970s include

  • Chesapeake Bay (US)
  • strait called the Kattegat strait (Scandinavia)
  • The Baltic Sea (in multiple fishing grounds)
  • Northern Adriatic
  • And coastal waters of
  • South America
  • China
  • Japan
  • Throughout Southeast Australia
  • New Zealand (Both Australia and NZ are major sources of industrial agriculture as well as sheep and cattle factory farming)


A map of the world’s dead zones created by Dr. Robert Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Diaz estimates that the number of dead zones will double within a decade. Source: NASA

Coming Soon:
Oil Pollution

References:

  • Landry, C.A., S. Manning, and A.O. Cheek. 2004. Hypoxia suppresses reproduction in Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis. e.hormone 2004 conference. Oct. 27-30. New Orleans.
  • Murphy, C. . . . P. Thomas, et al. 2004. Modeling the effects of multiple anthropogenic and environmental stressors on Atlantic croaker populations using nested simulation models and laboratory data. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
  • Johanning, K., et al. 2004. Assessment of molecular interaction between low oxygen and estrogen in fish cell culture. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
  • Nutrients in the Nation’s Waters–Too Much of a Good Thing? U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1136.

Related Links:

See Also:  Our Dying Oceans (Parts I, II,III, and IV)

FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Posted in Climate Change, Coastal Developments, eco tourism, Fertilizer Runoff, Ocean Warming, Tourism, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »