Flame retardant sharks?

Flame retardants are found everywhere from your house to your car. Unfortunately, these chemicals can accumulate in the environment, including the ocean. Once in the ocean, flame retardants can make their way into marine organisms. The researchers in this study wanted to determine if flame retardants are transferred from mothers to offspring in sharks.

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Desalination: As If Corals Didn’t Have Enough to Worry About Already

Clean, safe drinking water is a basic human need. However, for many areas around the globe, freshwater is becoming scarce. Desalination is increasingly used to provide drinking water in some coastal regions, but the waste products – brine and antiscalants – are discharged back into the ocean with unknown consequences. A recent study by Karen Lykkebo Petersen (University of California Santa Cruz) and colleagues sought to simulate happens to coral reefs as they are increasingly exposed to desalination discharge.

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Diving deep: benefits of deep sea coral refuges in the Atlantic

Take a dive into the fascinating world of deep sea coral reefs off the South Atlantic Coast and their role in supporting diverse reef fish communities. The paper examines the differences between shallow and deep reefs and explores why they may require distinctions when setting management goals.

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More than just a coincidence? What the co-occurrence of species can teach us about how they interact

Different kinds of plants, animals, and fungi interact with each other in a myriad of ways.  Recently, researchers have been trying to infer the nature of these interactions just by looking at whether you can find these species in the same place!  In a 2018 study, Mara Freilich of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her co-authors examined the reliability of this co-occurrence approach.

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Cropland nitrogen allocation – A deeper dive into the stressors impacting the oceans

Around the globe, 40-50% of the nitrogen applied to cropland in fertilizers remains in the environment. Excess nitrogen is an important environmental stressor that degrades water, air and soil quality and enhances coastal eutrophication. Efficiently allocating nitrogen across space both maximizes crop yields and minimizes excess nitrogen losses to the environment.

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Why was it so hot during the years 2014-2016?

The extreme heat in recent years has led to many unprecedented events, such as global coral bleaching and reductions in Arctic sea ice.  A study by Yin et al. suggests that El Nino released huge quantities of heat from the oceans, resulting in record-breaking warm temperatures during the years 2014-2016.  The rise in temperatures has been so extreme that global temperatures have now increased by one degree Celsius relative to the pre-Industrial era.  For those of you who have been following the Paris Climate Agreement, that’s already two-thirds of the 1.5 degree threshold that they’re working to avoid!

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Ocean acidification in the face of many environmental stressors

Greenhouse gas emissions are acidifying the ocean. The progressive decrease in ocean pH, or ocean acidification, is impacting ecosystems across the globe. Despite our understanding of the severity of ocean acidification’s impacts on individual species, the story is more complicated. We must also consider more broadly how ocean acidification affects ecosystems that are also exposed to a variety of other stressors such as changes in temperature and oxygen, coastal nutrient input, fishing, and ocean commercial transportation. It is critical that future adaptation and mitigation strategies consider how these co-occurring stressors interact with one another.

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