SETAC MultiBrief
Jul. 10, 2014

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against deadly amphibian fungus
The Guardian
Scientists have made a key discovery that may help to stem the loss of countless species of amphibians to a deadly fungus. Frogs and other amphibians have been among the worst hit of all species in recent years in terms of the numbers facing drastic declines or extinction: more than one-third of the more than 6,000 amphibian species are now listed as "threatened" in conservation terms, or already extinct.More

Oil pipeline expansion presents a whale of a problem
Mintpress News
Energy giant Kinder Morgan's plans to expand its existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline in order to triple the amount of oil shipped out of Canada from 300,000 barrels a day to around 890,000 barrels per day, has been met with strong resistance from environmental protection groups and concerned members of the public who argue that the increase in oil shipments will have a negative impact on marine life — particularly whales that live in the Northern Pacific Ocean.More

PCBs levels continue to decline in Lake Michigan fish
Appleton Post-Crescent
New research shows a continuing decline in PCB levels in key Lake Michigan sport fish more than 30 years after regulations on manufacture, use and disposal were put into place. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources researchers Paul Rasmussen, Candy Schrank and Meghan Williams, in a paper published in the June 16 online edition of the Journal of Great Lakes Research, describe a statistical model based on fish samples collected from 1975 to 2010 that quantified how toxic polychlorinated biphenyls have diminished in chinook and coho salmon — two prized fish among sport anglers and home chefs.More

About 99 percent of the ocean's plastic has disappeared. Where it's ending up should scare all of us
From water bottles to the microbeads in our face wash, we send millions of tons of plastic into the ocean every year. Not only does it amount to $13 billion in damages to the environment, but it costs the lives of the marine animals that end up choking on our garbage. A new study has found even grimmer news: About 99 percent of the ocean's plastic is missing, and there's a chance that a large amount is ending up on our dinner plates.More

Stanley Park named 'top park in the entire world'
Global News
They don't call it the "jewel" of Vancouver for nothing. The rainforest oasis in the middle of B.C.'s busiest city was today named the "top park in the entire world." It is one of the largest urban parks in North America, visited every year by about eight million people. It beat out New York's Central Park and the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris to take the top spot.More

Antidepressants disrupt fish's brains
Planet Earth Online
Drugs designed to ease the symptoms of mental health problems such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress can have major disruptive effects on aquatic animals' brains, say scientists. Antidepressants are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. In 2012, there were more than 50 million prescriptions of the drugs in the U.K., and in some towns and cities as many as one in six of us are taking them. In recent years, researchers have found increasing concentrations of the drugs in rivers around the world.More

State officials: It's time for farmers to prevent nitrates from contaminating groundwater
Brainerd Dispatch
Minnesotans are spending millions of dollars to deal with nitrate contamination in their water, and the state agriculture department says it's time to insist that farmers do more to prevent the problem. Critics say regulators have moved too slowly as the problem worsens, but the Department of Agriculture says it plans to use a new set of rules to be more aggressive in getting farmers to do things that limit the amount of fertilizer chemicals leaching into groundwater.More

Biomarkers for good measure: Assessing aquatic ecosystem status, with Sharon Hook
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Biomarkers — biological endpoints long used in medical screening and disease detection — are finding new relevance in the environmental science community. Although toxicologists have been using biomarkers in certain aquatic contaminant assessments, e.g., water quality, these endpoints hold great value for ecological risk assessments and integrated monitoring. Further incorporation of biomarkers could, for example, reduce the need for complex lab exposure studies, signal early contaminant exposure in the wild, and bolster weight-of-evidence assessments as a line of evidence. Sharon Hook talks about advantages and caveats for using biomarkers in environmental assessments. More