28 May '11, 8am

Scientists explained that contaminated water acts as a barrier to larvae, cutting gene flow & threatening species.

Scientists explained that contaminated water acts as a barrier to larvae, cutting gene flow & threatening species.

Every day, a billion gallons of wastewater and storm water flow from California into the ocean, bringing along heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and other contaminants. Researchers at the University of Hawaii recently found that populations of organisms like the bat star, which live virtually free of direct human impact, are in fact directly affected by the plume. In a paper published in March, Rob Toonen and Jonathan Puritz explained that the contaminated water acts as a barrier to the starfish larvae, effectively reducing gene flow between populations and threatening the species' long-term survival. Out of sight, yes, but this study suggests we'd do better to keep our waste in mind.

Full article: http://www.onearth.org/article/starfish-blues

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