SETAC MultiBrief
May. 28, 2015

Fukushima watch: Cesium-absorbing canola project triples in size
The Wall Street Journal
A bright yellow expanse of canola flowers about 25 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is providing more than just a blaze of color: The flowers are also helping to remove radioactive cesium from the soil. The flowers were planted as part of a project aimed at decontaminating land and generating power in Minamisoma, a coastal city that straddles the edge of the evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant.More

Utah Wilderness 50 at Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter
Salt Lake Magazine
The Wilderness Act of 1964 left an indelible mark on Utah’s identity. The state's vast wealth of protected areas is owed in large part to the legislation, which established the American definition of wilderness and preserved more than nine million acres of wild lands as wilderness, with an additional 100 million acres added in the five decades that followed. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter is hosting a special exhibition called Utah Wilderness 50. More

On International Day, Ban says biodiversity is essential to sustainable development, eradicating poverty
UN News Centre
Variety of life on Earth is essential for the welfare of current and future generations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today on the International Day for Biological Diversity, as he called on the international community to recommit to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss particularly as the United Nations prepares to adopt a new set of development goals. More

Ocean's hidden world of plankton revealed in 'enormous database'
The hidden world of the ocean's tiniest organisms has been revealed in a series of papers published in the journal Science. An international team has been studying samples of plankton collected during a three-year global expedition. They have so far found 35,000 species of bacteria, 5,000 new viruses and 150,000 single-celled plants and creatures. They believe that the majority of these are new to science.More

Man to swim across Pacific for a cause
Starting this summer, 47-year-old Frenchman Ben Lecomte will try to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean. In 1998, he became the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Lecomte estimates his Pacific swim will take five months, eight hours a day, from Tokyo to San Francisco. More

BP oil spill responsible for Gulf of Mexico dolphin deaths
Scientific American
Lesions in the lungs and shrunken adrenal glands distinguish dolphins that washed up dead in the Gulf of Mexico between June 2010 and December 2012 compared with those found in beachings elsewhere. As a result, researchers have linked the mass deaths to BP's oil spill. "The dolphins have adrenal disease and lung disease consistent with exposure to petroleum products," explains Stephanie Venn-Watson, lead author of the study published in PLoS One and veterinarian at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego. More

Study reveals how rivers regulate global carbon cycle
Humans concerned about climate change are working to find ways of capturing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the Earth. But nature has its own methods for the removal and long-term storage of carbon, including the world's river systems, which transport decaying organic material and eroded rock from land to the ocean. While river transport of carbon to the ocean is not on a scale that will bail humans out of our CO2 problem, we don't actually know how much carbon the world's rivers routinely flush into the ocean — an important piece of the global carbon cycle. More

The trouble with scientists
Sometimes it seems surprising that science functions at all. In 2005, medical science was shaken by a paper with the provocative title "Why most published research findings are false." Written by John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, it didn't actually show that any particular result was wrong. Instead, it showed that the statistics of reported positive findings was not consistent with how often one should expect to find them. As Ioannidis concluded more recently, "many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85 percent of research resources are wasted." More

The last oil spill in Santa Barbara helped birth environmentalism; what will this one do?
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency after an underground oil pipeline ruptured along the south coast of Santa Barbara, California. The pipeline may have leaked up to 105,000 gallons of oil, potentially menacing nearby beaches and wildlife. Clean-up crews are now laying down booms in the ocean to keep the oil from spreading. Officials have found two slicks along the coast, plus two pelicans covered in crude. The area is also home to two endangered bird species — the snowy plover and the least tern. More

Earth's ozone is in good shape, scientists say
Nature World News
After years of dangerous depletion that left a giant hole over Antarctica, our ozone is finally recovering. Once scientists realized that bromine-containing halons and chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, were eating away at the Earth's protective layer, leaders enacted the 1987 Montreal Protocol banning such chemicals. Now we are reaping the rewards, with the ozone layer in much better shape than it would have been without the United Nations treaty. More