Being a SEANET volunteer is a day at the beach. Being a SEANET staff member, however, is usually a day in a cramped office in central Massachusetts. Your SEANET blogger was all the more grateful, then, to head out to Cape Cod for a brief vacation this week. Hence, the blogging lapse on Tuesday.
Unfortunately for you readers, but fortunately for me, the SEANET blogger will be leaving for another vacation on Saturday. So be forewarned, blogposts are likely to be sporadic for the next two weeks. I will try to refrain from posting nothing but photos of my own children frolicking in a lake in Maine.
Actual news for today: SEANET has long been interested in the role of plastic in marine ecosystems, but seabirds are not the only organisms ingesting plastic. Hans Laufner, a researcher at the University of Connecticut, has just released the results of a multi-year, multi-million dollar research project investigating the precipitous decline of the lobster population in Long Island Sound over the past decade or so. The decline was known to be due at least in part to “shell disease” which causes deformities and death in lobsters. Laufner’s research shows that exposure to alkylphenols (like the well known BPA in plastic food containers) causes the lobsters to be more susceptible to shell disease. He studied a number of “hotspots” where high levels of the chemicals are washed into the waters of the sound and found that lobsters in those areas are more severely affected by disease and deformity. You can read more about Laufner’s research at UConn’s website.