Manmade pollutants could be harming marine mammals more than we think

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 16:11 in Biology & Nature

Researchers identified multiple bottlenose dolphins with high levels of mercury in their livers. Marine scientists are only beginning to understand the relationship between ocean pollutants and sea animals' health. (NOAA/Amy Van Cise /)Marine biologists have been sounding the alarm about ocean pollution since the 1950s. Up until then, many scientists believed that the ocean was large enough to dilute any human waste and protect its animal inhabitants. Over the past few decades, researchers have shown that man-made pollution directly harms marine life—but there’s still far more work to do. Biologists have only studied the effects of harmful chemicals on a handful of ocean-dwelling animals, leaving the influences of contaminants on the rest of sea life largely unknown.Now, scientists are trying to close that knowledge gap in whales and dolphins. A study out last week in Frontiers in Marine Science surveyed 83 animals stranded on shores across the southeastern US from...

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