SETAC MultiBrief
Jul. 24, 2014

Mammals metabolize some pesticides to limit their biomagnification
Science Codex
The concentrations of many historically used, and now widely banned, pesticides and other toxic chemicals — called legacy contaminants — can become magnified in an animal that eats contaminated food; however, a new Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry study has found that Arctic mammals metabolize some currently used pesticides, preventing such "biomagnification."More

DDX levels well above death threshold in St. Louis robins
Morning Sun
Among other action, results of the 2013 dead bird collection in St. Louis were presented to the Pine River Superfund Taskforce in their July meeting. Matt Zwiernik, a Michigan State University professor with a doctorate in environmental toxicology, gave a presentation to open the meeting. Tissue samples from 28 birds in the nine-block residential area contained DDX at levels that many times greater than those found to induce death in laboratory settings. "We looked at the literature and concentrations in the brain that caused acute effects, usually death, ranged from 7.5 parts-per-million to around 300 ppm," Zwiernik said.More

Creating insecticides to target specific pests without harming beneficial species
RedOrbit
Using spider toxins to study the proteins that let nerve cells send out electrical signals, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have stumbled upon a biological tactic that may offer a new way to protect crops from insect plagues in a safe and environmentally responsible way. Their finding — that naturally occurring insect toxins can be lethal for one species and harmless for a closely related one — suggests that insecticides can be designed to target specific pests without harming beneficial species like bees.More

Study: Young female scientists face sexual harassment, assault while in the field
The Washington Post
As government initiatives push women to enter careers in science, a new study reveals that young female scientists are getting sexually harassed and even assaulted while conducting field work crucial to their success — mostly by their supervisors. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, claims to be the first to investigate experiences of scientists at field sites, surveying 142 men and 516 women with experience working in anthropology, archaeology, geology and other scientific disciplines.More

Researchers question expansion of Antarctica's fringe of sea ice
The New York Times
A new study of methods used to track Antarctic sea ice trends has raised important questions about whether recent increases in ice there are, to a significant extent, an illusion created by flawed analysis of data collected by a series of satellites. The news release excerpted below offers a good overview of the paper — "A spurious jump in the satellite record: has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated?" — which was just published in The Cryosphere. The authors are Ian Eisenman and Joel Norris of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Walt Meier of NASA.More

The global decline of coral reefs: Is there hope for recovery?
IEAM Blog
During the past few decades, coral reefs — the rainforests of the sea — have been declining at an alarming rate around the world. The threats faced by these extremely diverse and fragile ecosystems are numerous and difficult to control. In addition to weather-related damage, pollution, ocean acidification, coral mining, disease, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, coral reefs are subjected to the negative effects of global warming — increasing sea surface temperatures lead to coral bleaching, a process that makes corals become bone white and often die. More

Find your perfect moment in one of these suggested BC trip ideas
HelloBC
The Penticton area wineries is just one of many suggestions. Sip and savor your way through the central Thompson Okanagan wine region, where vineyards carpet the sunny benchlands above Okanagan Lake. Between tastings, try some of the region's other pursuits: cycling over canyons on a historic rail line, teeing off at a lakeside golf course or sampling the local home grown fare.More

Brazil approves new pesticide to combat coffee beetle
Reuters
Brazil's government approved the use of pesticides with the active ingredient cyantraniliprole to fight the coffee borer beetle, a note published in the country's Official Gazette said. Coffee cooperatives had been lobbying for the approval after the government said it would no longer allow farmers to use another product, endolsulfan, to prevent the beetle from damaging crops.More

Zoologger: Moose dribble turns off grass's toxic defenses
New Scientist
We've all eaten something that doesn't agree with us, but probably not on the scale that moose do. They eat a grass that is so toxic, it can make animals' hooves fall off. Yet the moose are resolutely hoofed, suggesting they have a way to counteract the toxin.More

Fat corals fare best as climate changes
Smithsonian
Corals don't live solitary lives. Their existence depends on one-celled algae called zooxanthellae that take up residence inside those ornate structures. The tiny algae give corals oxygen and other nutrients (as well as their beautiful colors), and in return, the corals give the algae carbon dioxide—a symbiotic arrangement. With global waters warming and increasing in acidity, it's well known coral reefs are in trouble. Warmer waters cause corals to expel the life-enabling symbiotic algae that they normally pair with, triggering a suicidal process referred to as coral bleaching. More