How Climate-driven Ocean Changes Affect Right Whale Populations

It is no secret that the world is ever-shifting towards a warmer reality. With conditions changing greatly in the Gulf of Maine, researchers are now exploring how climate-driven changes have been affecting the North Atlantic right whale populations. Sadly, their findings have shone a light towards a worrisome reality – a reality where these whales might be driven into extinction.

Read more

Melting Moves Marine Mammals

As glaciers melt, the species who live there are faced with a dilemma – retreat into the little remaining habitat or find some way to adapt. Movement data from populations of ringed seals and white whales before and after a major sea-ice decline provides insight on how each species has responded to habitat loss. One of these species has chosen retreat, while the other has learned to adapt.

Read more

The Fate of Our Microplastics

Microplastics, or plastics smaller than a sesame seed, have become a growing concern for marine environments. A majority of facial cleaners contain microplastics, such as microbeads or micro exfoliates, which get washed down the sink drain and end up in our oceans. A research team in Auckland, New Zealand investigated four local brands, and determined all four brands contained about 150 microplastics per 1.5 grams of cleanser. Most were around the size of a grain of sand, and some were irregularly shaped and susceptible to breaking down into smaller pieces. The apprehension of these findings is that small plastic particles could be confused for food by microscopic marine life, and the plastic could accumulate up the food chain and harm marine life. Furthermore, microplastics can also accumulate chemical toxins in the ocean, and their environmentally persistent nature allows for them to become more toxic as they age. Therefore, simple measures such as using organic facial cleansers, and becoming more aware of our daily habits and products use, are essential to reducing ocean pollution.

Read more