Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dead Zones in the Atlantic

Dead zones in the Atlantic Ocean can kill thousands of migrating fish. There are areas of the Atlantic with very low amounts of oxygen which are expected to kill tons of fish. The levels of oxygen have been labeled inhabitable for most marine life.Scientist say that the only life that can inhabit these dead zones are microorganisms. Due to these dead zones, there can be a dip in the economy, commercial fishers will loose a hefty amount of money if all there product is dying to lack of oxygen. Fish play an important role in our lives, it is a source of food for most people and a way to earning a living for even more people. Without fish the economy can suffer drastically.

To learn more about this and other affects these dead zones have click this link:

Monday, April 27, 2015

High Levels of Pollution Can Lead to Brain Damage

Researchers at Harvard School of Medicine have discovered that a type of small particle pollution that can be given off by car exhausts can lead to brain damage as serious as aging your brain 1 year. They looked at scans of over 900 seniors, age 60 and comparing the seniors who lived in highly polluted air of a city to those who lived in places with less air pollution they saw that the seniors who lived in the more polluted areas had a ".32 percent reduction in brain volume" and a "46 percent higher risk of mini-strokes" than those who lived in less polluted air. The researchers now believe this is the most solid evidence that their is association between high levels of pollution and brain damage. 
So this is the most a huge problem for people who live in cities. One of the biggest concerns is the mini-strokes. These are a big concern because they do not do as much damage as a large stroke so most people do not realize that they are having them. They get symptoms that they may associate with aging like dizziness or blurred vision. They will not realize what is happening and if they continue they can do real damage if they happen in certain parts of the brain. All of these things are major concerns for people who live in cities.

Bees Attracted to Pesticides in Nectar

      Scientists at Newcastle University and Trinity College have recently discovered that bees are actually attracted to nectar containing pesticides. Previous research has shown that bumble bees and honeybees can not taste the difference between nectar with pesticides compared to nectar with out the pesticides, but now the studies are showing that they actually prefer the one with the pesticides. It is shown that these pesticides are effecting the same parts of the bees brain as nicotine effects the humans brain. This can make getting the nectar with the pesticides seem more rewarding to the bee.
      This is leading for these bees having a higher exposure to these pesticides. These pesticides have already been shown to negatively effect the bees fitness. By these bees going after the pesticide containing crops has proven to have negative effect on entire hives.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill's Effects on Marine Snow

It has been five years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the oil industry's largest environmental disasters. Where in 2010 an explosion caused the rig to sink into the sea and leak  millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of 87 days. Of course this event had devastating effects on the environment. Ever since this oil spill scientist have been studying the specific effects that this spill had.

Recently while on I came across an article about a new problem they have discovered. Research oceanographer Uta  Passow realized the oils effects on marine snow. Marine snow is when all the little particles of “gunk” in the ocean stick together “like dust bunnies in the house”. It make the water look like a snow storm. When the particles group together they are then heavy enough to sink which is the only way particles on the surface can reach the ocean bottom. This is a common important process in the Ocean, but dispersant Corexit used to clean up the spill inhibits marine snow. However it is has also been recently found that the oil may be reacting with the microbes and the plankton in the water to create alternative ways of marine snow. This is bad because it is allowing the oil to not just to cause damage on the surface, but to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor and cause damage there too.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lynn Bonnett ~ Environmental Activist

As aspiring Environmental Scientists, it’s advantageous for us to network and meet up with others who aspire to do what we do, and even more so with people who are veterans!  Lynn Bonnett, former chair of the New Haven Environmental Justice Network, is a prime example of what we aim to do in the future!  Today in our Bay & Paul meeting, she came and spoke to us how she became involved in her work, what her and her group have accomplished over the years, and projects that they are currently working on. For those of you who could not make it to the meeting today, she is offering a few of us spots for internships over the summer to further work on the current project, so read up!

New Haven Independent—“Bonnett near land that caused the delay”

Ms. Bonnet majored in biology when she was an undergraduate student in college.  From there, she went on to do medical research, and branched off into Physical Therapy.  She moved to New Haven in the 1990s as a Physical Therapist, and one day went on a “Toxic Tour” around to the Hartford power plant.  This tour was the birth of her environmental activism, and she started attending meetings for the New Haven Environmental Justice Network, and ultimately became chair!

The project that the network is currently working on relates to air quality.  As we know, air quality in the city of New Haven is only getting worse, and this team has investigated mercury emissions from a power plant in the area.  They are collecting samples by placing moss in various areas, and testing to identify the amount of mercury that was absorbed in the area!

This is the site of the network if you wish to learn more about it.

This is a link to the New Haven Independent’s article about the recent success of the network. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Engineers purify sea and wastewater in 2.5 minutes and thoughts...

While skimming through the Science Daily site, I came across an interesting article on purifying seawater and wastewater. A team of Engineers from Mexico of the Jhostoblak Corporate have discovered a way to purify non potable water from locations like hotels, homes, industrial facilities and commercial companies. The technology for this type of purification is said to only take 2.5 minutes to complete.

The technology that they are using is called the PQUA system. This system has the ability to separate and removing all types of contaminants. These can consist of organic or inorganic pollutants. It is necessary to molecularly dissociate water pollutants to be able to recover the vital minerals to be potable and for the human body to be able to process it and use it to its advantage. If not done properly, the water will not be able to provide its basic qualities such as hydrating and replenishing the body.

The PQUA system also has the ability to take samples from different areas of contaminated water and run tests to find out more information. When running these tests, the system can figure out and tell you what kind of elements should be combined and ho much to be able to give the water back its ordinary properties for potability.

During the purification process of these contaminated water treatments, it is said by the engineers that no damage is to be done to the environment. In addition, the gases and odors will not negatively impact the health of the people.

Here's how the process works!

The water is pumped into a reactor tank to get rid of solids, heavy metals, and other matter to be removed by rain and gravity. The remnants will then settle to the bottom of the tank as a sludge. There is a latter removed to examine the sludge to determine if it is a suitable fertilizer or to be used as construction material.  

The liquid is then brought to a filter tank to measure its clarity and to remove any final or excess elements that will make the water lack purity. Once this is complete, it is taken to a polishing tank to take away any other colors, flavors, or even smells. The water is then taken to a container, ozone is added to make certain that the water is indeed pure and able to drink. The end product of the liquid is expected to be clear and have a neutral taste.  The engineers have said that their treated water has been verified and tested by many institutes and associations and have all been said to pass qualifications to be potable. 

This article was extremely interesting because we should all be aware by now of the scarcity of clean drinking water. It is amazing, yet also confusing to think that technology is now being used to purify and make contaminated water drinkable.