SETAC MultiBrief
May. 1, 2014

Pollutants leading to developmental defects in UK river birds
Nature World News
Pollutants in U.K. rivers have been linked to hormone disruptions and underdevelopment in birds nesting nearby. Eurasian dippers — river birds that feed exclusively on insects and fish in upland streams — was assessed in the study by an international team of researchers, who published their work in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.More

Global scientists plan Vancouver Fukushima session
The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry is hosting a session on Fukushima’s continuing radioactive legacy during its 35th annual North American meeting, to be held in Vancouver this fall. The rationale behind the session — according to a release from SFU faculty of environment adjunct professor and session cochair Juan Jose Alava — is to "stress the need to conduct lines of research and monitoring aimed to understand baseline data and bioaccumulation potential of radionuclides and radiation risks in the region" since the March 2011 nuclear-reactor-meltdown disaster in Japan. More

Earth Day matters more than ever
Santa Barbara Independent
A generation or two after the first Earth Day, Santa Barbara, California's Earth Day Festival has changed significantly, as has the landscape around us. Some say we are now in the midst of an extinction crisis — what Elizabeth Kolbert calls the Sixth Extinction. We have crossed the threshold of acceptable levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Population, climate change, and resource limits are at the root of major systemic stress. More

Researchers discover ocean acidity is dissolving shells of snails
A NOAA-led research team has found the first evidence that acidity of continental shelf waters off the West Coast is dissolving the shells of tiny free-swimming marine snails, called pteropods, which provide food for pink salmon, mackerel and herring, according to a new paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Researchers estimate that the percentage of pteropods in this region with dissolving shells due to ocean acidification has doubled in the nearshore habitat since the pre-industrial era and is on track to triple by 2050 when coastal waters become 70 percent more corrosive than in the pre-industrial era due to human-caused ocean acidification. More

Research: Cornstalk biofuels can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline
Clean Technica
Biofuels created from corn crop residues — such as stalks, leaves, cobs, etc. — can generate higher levels of greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to new research from the University of Nebraska. The production of these biofuels — including ethanol — also works to reduce soil carbon, further contributing to greenhouse gas emissions via that pathway.More

Sea to Sky Gondola opens up hiking in area near Vancouver
Sea to Sky Gondola, scheduled to open outside of Vancouver later this month, will take 8 to 10 minutes to carry passengers to a ridge northwest of Mount Habrich. At an elevation of 885 meters, the upper terminal area will offer two walking trails, three viewing platforms, a suspension bridge and a lodge with a restaurant and bar, teahouse, and gift shop. Weather permitting, visitors will enjoy vistas of the Chief, Howe Sound, Sky Pilot Mountain and Atwell Peak.More

Frog-killing fungus meets its match in hidden world of tiny predators
Scientific American
Some fungi have been behaving badly of late, attacking bats, plants, amphibians, reptiles and people with gusto, driving many species to extinction and others to the brink. It's all quite depressing. But there is some good news: We may have allies in our efforts to fight at least one of these rampaging fungi. Tiny, armed, hungry allies.More

Researchers using drones to better understand environmental phenomena
MIT's Earth Signals and Systems group has developed a novel application of technology — a small aircraft, termed a cooperative autonomous observing system — to capture dynamic maps of a natural hazard as it billows into the atmosphere, or to "follow the plumes and puffs." This kind of targeted, real-time measurement of volcanic emissions could provide, for example, a far more detailed understanding of the role of aerosols in climate change.More

Ozone levels descended 20 percent with switch from ethanol to gasoline
Counsel & Heal
A first-of-its-kind of analysis has reported that when residents of Sao Paulo, Brazil, switched from ethanol to gasoline in their flexible-fuel vehicles, local ozone levels dropped 20 percent. According to the report, simultaneously nitric oxide and carbon monoxide concentrations tended to go up. More

Wonder-material graphene could be dangerous to environment, humans
The nanomaterial graphene may have a plethora of near-magical properties, but as it turns out, it could also be bad for the environment — and bad for you, too. It's only been 10 years since graphene was first isolated in the laboratory, and as researchers and industries scramble to bring graphene out of the lab and into a vast range of commercial applications, far less money is being spent examining its potential negative effects.More