SETAC MultiBrief
Nov. 13, 2014

Radioactive elements from 2011 Fukushima meltdown 'detected off the coast of the US'
The Independent
Radioactive elements that were leaked into the Pacific Ocean following the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 have been recorded for the first time off the coast of California. Volunteer researchers have been monitoring the water off the West Coast in a bid to track the progress of a plume of radioactive water that has been making the 100 mile journey.More

Fish are having gentler sex because of human influence?
Nature World News
Experts have long known that human activity can influence how local animals live, including their habitats, food sources and even behavior. However, a new study has found that we can even impact how an animal procreates, changing the size and structure of specific fish species' genitalia in only a few decades. More

Robot 'dolphins' give clues to Antarctic melt in data revolution
Dolphin-sized robots are giving clues to a thaw of Antarctica's ice in a sign of how technology is revolutionizing data collection in remote polar regions, scientists said. An international study led by the California Institute of Technology used three yellow "gliders," about 2 meters (6 feet 6 inches) long and each costing $240,000, to measure temperature and salinity in the depths of the Weddell Sea off Antarctica.More

How corals can actually benefit from climate change effects
Researchers from North­eastern University's Marine Sci­ence Center and the Uni­ver­sity of North Car­olina at Chapel Hill have found that moderate ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion and warming can actu­ally enhance the growth rate of one reef-​​building coral species. Only under extreme acid­i­fi­ca­tion and thermal con­di­tions did cal­ci­fi­ca­tion decline. Their work, which was pub­lished in the journal Pro­ceed­ings of the Royal Society B: Bio­log­ical Sci­ences, is the first to show that some corals may ben­efit from mod­erate ocean acidification. More

New understanding of toxin-loving organisms may help tackle pollution
It's been known for decades that certain organisms, found primarily deep in the ground and under bodies of water, can break down the toxic substances created by many industries. These pollution-gobbling microbes have been used to treat things like groundwater contamination and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in a process known as bioremediation. But the method hasn't exactly taken off—reproducing enough of these organisms for treatments and further study has been difficult, and scientists haven't quite understood how the organisms actually dismantle these complex chemicals. More

Electronic 'fish' helps us understand the trials of salmon migration
Nature World News
Young salmon have a lot to deal with after first being brought into the world. Leaving the safety of their spawning pools, these fish have to dodge predatory birds, bears, sea lions and even the dangerous turbines of hydroelectric dams during their trek to the ocean. Now researchers have fashioned a new sensor that could help them determine how to make that last part a bit easier. More

Global warming worsens aquatic dead zones, study finds
San Francisco Chronicle
Global warming is likely playing a bigger role than previously thought in dead zones in oceans, lakes and rivers around the world and it's only going to get worse, according to a new study. Dead zones occur when fertilizer runoff clogs waterways with nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous. That leads to an explosion of microbes that consume oxygen and leave the water depleted of oxygen, harming marine life.More