Monday, December 14, 2015

Health Impacts of Mercury

Although mercury is a naturally occurring element that can be found in many forms in nature, it proves to be immensely detrimental to human health, even in small amounts.  According to the World Health Organization, mercury is one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern due to its toxic effects on numerous body systems. Since mercury comes in many forms, there are multiple ways that we can be exposed. We are most commonly exposed to the compound methylmercury- what we ingest when eating seafood.

As a result of mercury exposure, fetuses are susceptible to developmental issues, which is why pregnant women are advised against eating fish and other forms of seafood.  If a pregnant woman were to ingest mercury, it could cause negative effects on their child’s neurological development. In addition, people who are regularly exposed to mercury (those who rely on fishing or people who are exposed for work reasons) are very likely to develop health problems as a result.

Mercury exposure can cause detriment to the nervous, immune, and digestive system, as well as kidneys and lungs. All of these health complications can prove to be fatal in the long term. Since mercury bioaccumulates like all other elements and compounds, it stays in our bodies and builds up the more we ingest or are exposed to mercury.  Some symptoms of mercury exposure include, but are not limited to: insomnia, loss of memory, headaches, and cognitive and motor dysfunction. 

Droughts and Global El Nino Events

The University of Montana has been researching global climate change. The research shows that there have been widespread increases in plant growth and evaporation due to recent global climate trends.  El Nino is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific with important consequences for weather around the globe. The rise in evapotranspiration (the process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from plants and soil) is increasing the risk of droughts with rising temperature trends, especially during periodic drought cycles that have been linked with strong El Nino events. The researchers have a long-term global satellite record of land evapotranspiration and use remote sensing satellite data. They predict that if these trends continue, it will likely exacerbate regional drought-induced disturbances, and even intensify it during dry climate phases associated with El Nino events.
Droughts are caused by a decreased amount of precipitation. This extreme lack of rain will cause regions around the world to slowly dry out. There are three different forms of droughts; Meteorological, Agricultural, and Hydrological. Meteorological Droughts refer to the degree of dryness. Agricultural refers to agricultural impacts. Throughout the duration of droughts, the weather is usually extremely hot. Droughts cause many complications varying upon deaths and economic issues.

The University of Montana. "Global connections between El Nino events, drought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2015. <>.

What is climate change?

Scientists often discuss climate change and its seriousness. However, many people still do not understand its effects and importance on our world and what it exactly means for us. If the average global temperature changes even by 2 degrees fahrenheit it can result in a reduction in crops, an increase of flooding due to an increase in precipitation, a decrease in streamflow in some rivers. It has been mentioned  that average global temperatures have increased more than 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 100 years, and is expected to increase each year.

Many people, and even a small percentage of scientists do not think climate change is occurring. Data shows that there has been an increase of the average global temperature. Other observations include: warmer oceans, melting arctic sea ice and glaciers, sea level rise, increasing precipitation, and changing wind patterns, which are contributing factors to the increase of the average global temperature.

It is not too late to make an impact on future climate increase and change. In order for people to help eliminate climate change and make an impact they all need to compromise and make plans together. Government officials, activists, and educators need to find a way to work together to help end this environmental change that with effect the entire world.
 In nature living things have different relationships with each other, these are called species interactions. There are 5 different interactions the first one is predator prey which is when the predator hides and waits for a prey and when its close enough the predator attacks and kills it. The next is competition which is when a organism is eating and another one gets closer to eat until both animals start fighting for the food sources for survival. There is also mutualism which is when different species benefit from each other. There is commensalism which is when a species gets benefit from another without harming the other and the last one is parasitism which is when parasites benefit from other by injecting their eggs.