Pollution

bonefish
Bonefish (Albula vulpes)

Study finds traces of pharmaceutical drugs in bonefish and their prey

Florida’s seagrass flats used to be the place where anglers from around the world would congregate to catch the bonefish. However, this is no longer the case, as populations of the fish—nicknamed “grey ghosts”—have fallen by more than 50 percent over four decades.

In an article published in The Guardian, according to Dr Jennifer Rehage, a fish ecologist and associate professor at Florida International University (FIU), many anglers had said they could not find bonefish in the seagrass flats anymore.

Anemonefish sheltering in coral
Anemonefish sheltering in coral

Chemical pollutants disrupt reproduction in anemonefish

Thanks to increased awareness, we are all aware of how some plastic food utensils can leach Bisphenol-A (BPA) into our food.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor and it can interfere with how the hormones in our bodies function. Studies have shown that pollutants like BPA tend to feminize animals like freshwater fish, rats and mice. 

How does it affect animals whose gender is determined by its environment? 

Plastics comprises 84 percent of Australia's beach debris

As much as 84 percent of the rubbish found on Australian beaches in the past ten years is plastic.

Almost half of all the debris originates from land-based sources (littering, dumping on land, etc), and seven percent from dumping activities at sea.

The remaining 42 percent could not be traced to a specific source as they had broken down into smaller fragments, which would eventually become microplastics.

Turtles and plastic bags
Plastics floating in the ocean build a coating of algae and microorganisms that smells edible to turtles.

Why do sea turtles eat plastic? Perhaps because it smells good

To understand sea turtle behavior around ocean plastics, the research team compared how sea turtles in a lab setting reacted to smelling odors of turtle food, ocean-soaked plastic, clean plastic and water.

The turtles ignored the scents of clean plastic and water, but responded to the odors of food and ocean-soaked plastics by showing foraging behavior. This included poking their noses out of the water repeatedly as they tried to smell the food source, and increasing their activity as they searched.