SETAC MultiBrief
Sep. 18, 2014

Scientists apply biomedical technique to reveal changes within the body of the ocean
Maritime Executive
For decades, medical researchers have sought new methods to diagnose how different types of cells and systems in the body are functioning. Now scientists have adapted an emerging biomedical technique to study the vast body of the ocean. In a study published Sept. 5 in the journal Science, a research team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution demonstrated that they can identify and measure proteins in the ocean, revealing how singled-celled marine organisms and ocean ecosystems are operating.More

Vancouver aquarium voted top 10 in the world
Inside Vancouver
You always knew there was something special about all those jellyfish, otters, wolf eels and Arctic char. Now the world knows, too. Vancouver Aquarium has been voted one of the ten best in the world by readers of USA Today. The aquarium nabbed the seventh spot overall in the newspaper's 10 Best survey, just behind Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and ahead of Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. The survey notes that the aquarium has just completed the biggest expansion in its history, nearly doubling its gallery space. It now houses some 50,000 animals, with special new exhibits highlighting Red Sea coral reefs and Africa's Lake Malawi.More

Wild birds' songs, feather colors changed by mercury contamination
National Geographic
Scientists have long known that mercury is a potent toxicant: It disrupts the architecture of human brains, and it can change birds' behavior and kill their chicks. But after extensive research in rural Virginia, scientists have shown that mercury also alters the very thing that many backyard birds are known for-their songs. More

Study: Ozone finally showing signs of recovery
Nature World News
Finally, the world can rejoice over some good news about the environment. The Earth's protective ozone layer, which shields us from harmful ultraviolet rays, is showing signs of recovery, according to a new United Nations report. This atmospheric layer is slowly rebuilding itself after years of dangerous depletion, which left a giant hole over Antarctica. But this gap has now stopped expanding, and experts are crediting the ozone's recovery to the phasing out of harmful man-made chemicals used in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosol cans.More

Study: Pesticides a concern for aquatic life in most US urban streams
The proportion of urban streams in the United States with potentially worrisome levels of pesticides for aquatic life has surged to 90 percent, a two-decade government study said. Some of the more than 500 million pounds of pesticides used yearly in the United States are concentrated at levels that pose a concern for fish and water-dwelling insects, the U.S. Geological Survey report on pesticides from 1992 to 2011 said. The levels seldom topped human health standards.More

Drowned tropical forests exacerbate climate change
Scientific American
Big dams built in the tropics to produce hydroelectricity have long been highly controversial — and data gathered in Laos by a French team studying methane emissions confirms that dams can add to global warming, not reduce it. In many rocky regions low on vegetation and population, such as in Iceland and other northern mountainous regions, the production of electricity from hydropower is clearly a net gain in the battle against climate change.More

Delft student's Ocean Cleanup crowdfunding successful
The Ocean Cleanup, a concept launched by student Boyan Slat to tackle plastic pollution in the world's oceans, has reached its crowdfunding goal of two million dollars to scale-up the project. Boyan was first confronted with the problem of plastic pollution in the seas while diving in Greece, where he spotted more plastic bags than fish. The problem struck him so much that while still in high school he dedicated six months of research to understanding plastic pollution and the economic, logistical and technological challenges of cleaning it up. More

Number of threatened coral species jumps from 2 to 22
National Geographic
Twenty coral species — ten times the number listed previously — are the newest animals slated for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The ruling, announced by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, did not come with restrictions on "taking" corals — harming them directly by collecting them or indirectly by altering their habitat — but officials haven't ruled out such restrictions for the future.More