Mercury levels in fish are on the rise

first_imgLet’s start with what fish eat.The researchers analyzed 30 years of ecosystem data from the Gulf of Maine, including an extensive analysis of the stomach contents of two marine predators, Atlantic cod and spiny dogfish, from the 1970s to 2000s.The researchers modeled methylmercury levels in cod based on their diet and results indicated levels were 6 to 20 percent lower in 1970 than they were in 2000. Modeled concentrations of methylmercury in spiny dogfish, however, were 33 to 61 percent higher in 1970 than in 2000 despite living in the same ecosystem and occupying a similar place in the food web. What accounts for these differences?In the 1970s, the Gulf of Maine was experiencing a dramatic loss in herring population due to overfishing. Both cod and spiny dogfish eat herring. Without it, each turned to a different substitute. Cod ate other small fish such as shads and sardines (small herring), which are low in methylmercury. Spiny dogfish however, substituted herring with higher-in-methylmercury food, such as squid and other cephalopods.When the herring population bounced back in 2000, cod reverted to a diet higher in methylmercury while spiny dogfish reverted to a diet lower in methylmercury.There’s another factor that impacts what fish eat: mouth size.Unlike humans, fish can’t chew — so most fish can only eat what fits in their mouth whole. However, there are a few exceptions. Swordfish, for example, use their titular bills to knock down large prey so they can eat it without resistance. Cephalopods catch prey with their tentacles and use their sharp beaks to rip off mouthfuls.“There’s always been a problem modeling methylmercury levels in organisms like cephalopods and swordfish because they don’t follow typical bioaccumulation patterns based on their size,” said Sunderland. “Their unique feeding patterns means they can eat bigger prey, which means they’re eating things that have bioaccumulated more methylmercury. We were able to represent that in our model.”But what fish eat isn’t the only thing that impacts their methylmercury levels.When Schartup was developing the model, she had trouble accounting for the methylmercury levels in tuna, which are among the highest of all marine fish. Its place on the top of the food web accounted for part of this but didn’t fully explain why its levels were so high. Schartup solved that mystery with inspiration from an unlikely source: swimmer Michael Phelps.“I was watching the Olympics and the TV commentators were talking about how Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories a day during the competition,” Schartup remembered. “I thought, that’s six times more calories than I consume. If we were fish, he would be exposed to six times more methylmercury than me.”As it turns out, high-speed hunters and migratory fish use a lot more energy than scavengers and other fish, which requires they consume more calories.“These Michael Phelps-style fish eat a lot more for their size but, because they swim so much, they don’t have compensatory growth that dilutes their body burden. So, you can model that as a function,” said Schartup.Another factor that comes into play is water temperature; as waters get warmer, fish use more energy to swim, which requires more calories.The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest-warming bodies of water in the world. The researchers found that between 2012 and 2017, methylmercury levels in Atlantic bluefin tuna increased by 3.5 percent per year despite decreasing emissions of mercury.Based on their model, the researchers predict that an increase of 1 degree Celsius in seawater temperature relative to the year 2000 would lead to a 32 percent increase in methylmercury levels in cod and a 70 percent increase in spiny dogfish.The model allows the researchers to simulate different scenarios at once. For example: Add another item to the ever-growing list of the dangerous impacts of global climate change: Warming oceans are leading to an increase in the harmful neurotoxicant methylmercury in popular seafood, including cod, Atlantic bluefin tuna, and swordfish, according to research led by the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH).Researchers developed a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive model that simulates how environmental factors, including increasing sea temperatures and overfishing, impact levels of methylmercury in fish. The researchers found that while regulation of mercury emissions has successfully reduced methylmercury levels in fish, spiking temperatures are driving those levels back up and will play a major role in the methylmercury levels of marine life in the future.The research is published in Nature.“This research is a major advance in understanding how and why ocean predators, such as tuna and swordfish, are accumulating mercury,” said Elsie Sunderland, the Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry at SEAS and HSPH, and senior author of the paper.“Being able to predict the future of mercury levels in fish is the Holy Grail of mercury research,” said Amina Schartup, former research associate at SEAS and HSPH and first author of the paper. “That question has been so difficult to answer because, until now, we didn’t have a good understanding of why methylmercury levels were so high in big fish.”It’s long been understood that methylmercury, a type of organic mercury, bioaccumulates in food webs, meaning organisms at the top of the food chain have higher levels of methylmercury than those at the bottom. But to understand all the factors that influence the process, you have to understand how fish live.If you’ve ever owned a goldfish, you know that fish pretty much do two things: eat and swim. What they eat, how much they eat, and how much they swim all affect how much methylmercury fish will accumulate in the wild. While regulation of mercury emissions has successfully reduced methylmercury levels in fish, spiking temperatures are driving those levels back up … Credit: Harvard SEAS“This model allows us to look at all these different parameters at the same time, just as it happens in the real world,” said Schartup.“We have shown that the benefits of reducing mercury emissions holds, irrespective of what else is happening in the ecosystem. But if we want to continue the trend of reducing methylmercury exposure in the future, we need a two-pronged approach,” said Sunderland. “Climate change is going to exacerbate human exposure to methylmercury through seafood, so to protect ecosystems and human health, we need to regulate both mercury emissions and greenhouse gases. It is important also to remember that fish are a very healthy food overall and when people switch away from fish in their diet they generally pick less healthy alternatives. We can all agree less methylmercury in these fish in the future would be a good thing.”This study was co-authored by Colin P. Thackray and Clifton Dassuncao of SEAS and HSPH; Asif Qureshi of the Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, Kandi, India; and Kyle Gillespie and Alex Hanke of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.This research was supported in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the Nereus Program sponsored by the Nippon Foundation.last_img read more

Taylor Louderman Will Join Broadway’s Kinky Boots

first_img Related Shows View Comments Kinky Boots Show Closed This production ended its run on April 7, 2019center_img Taylor Louderman(Photo: Bruce Glikas) After abruptly departing the off-Broadway production of Ride the Cyclone, Taylor Louderman is coming back to Broadway. The Bring It On and Peter Pan Live! star will join Kinky Boots, taking on the role of Lauren beginning January 16. She replaces Haven Burton and joins a cast that includes Todrick Hall and Olivier nominee Killian Donnelly.Following her Broadway debut in Bring It On, Louderman went on to star as Wendy in NBC’s Peter Pan Live! Her additional credits include off-Broadway’s Gigantic and High Maintenance, Night Cap and Sunny Days on screen.Featuring a score by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots has played more than 1500 performances and just surpassed Evita to become the 50th longest-running Broadway show of all time.last_img read more

Two bridges replaced in Roxbury, Route 12A open to traffic

first_imgThe Vermont Agency of Transportation today announced that two accelerated bridge replacement projects on Route 12A in the Town of Roxbury have been completed and the roadway is now open to all traffic. ‘These are the final two bridge closures resulting from Tropical Storm Irene,’ noted VTrans’ Secretary Brian Searles. ‘We are very close to reaching our Irene Response mission of opening all our damaged roads by the end of the year.’  The final closed road under construction, Route 107 in Stockbridge, remains on track for opening at the end of next week. Luck Brothers of Plattsburg, New York, was the contractor for the replacement of bridges 15 and 22 on Route 12A, both of which cross the third branch of the White River. The total closure on October 17, allowed the bridges to be completely replaced in just under 10 weeks.  Unlike the temporary bridge replacements in other areas of Irene-affected roads, bridges 15 and 22 were permanent fixes to damaged bridges.  ‘In responding to these bridge failures we were able to deploy innovative techniques and rapid bridge deployment to complete permanent bridge replacements in record time,’ noted Rich Tetreault, VTrans’ chief engineer.  The agency also completed work this week on two culverts in the Refrigerator Flats area of Route 107.  The 1.1 mile segment between its intersection with Route 100 in Stockbridge and the Post Office in Gaysville has reopened to local traffic only. Replacing the two culverts in Stockbridge is among the final tasks necessary before Route 107 can be reopened in its entirety. Irene struck on August 28, 2011 and severely damaged more than 500 miles of state highway, including some 200 state bridges. Today, only seven miles of Route 107 between Stockbridge and Bethel remain closed to public travel. Questions regarding storm-damaged roads and bridges related to Tropical Storm Irene can be answered by calling VTrans’ Irene Storm Center at 1-800-Vermont. People can also visit VTrans’ website at www.aot.state.vt.us(link is external) where they can follow the agency’s progress on both Facebook and Twitter. VTrans 12.21.2011last_img read more

The Venezuelan Migration and the Maduro Regime

first_imgBy Dr. Esteban Devis-Amaya, senior lecturer in Spanish and Latin American Studies at Oxford Brookes University November 02, 2020 According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an agency with the mandate to protect refugees, more than 4.5 million Venezuelans have left their country, escaping difficult economic, social, and political conditions over a period of seven years.The exodus can be divided into two waves. The first wave started with Hugo Chávez’s rise to power, and ended some months after his death. This wave included many business people, political opposition leaders, and former state employees. Its demographics were fairly narrow. According to Venezuelan sociologist Tomás Páez, over 90 percent of these refugees had some sort of professional qualifications.The second wave started in 2014, under the regime of Nicolás Maduro. The number has been much larger and its demographics a lot more diverse.Venezuelan academic Rina Mazuera-Arias, a civil law professor and researcher, and her team have shown that only around half of recent refugees (in 2019) have professional qualifications — still a high percentage, when compared to other global migrations, but lower than in the first wave.The active role of Chávez and Maduro has been seen in both waves. During the early 2000s, a large number of former state employees, mainly from the PDVSA state oil company, left Venezuela after participating in anti-government strikes. The Chávez government fired around 18,000 PDVSA workers, blacklisting them from government jobs, blocking them from accessing public service assistance, and persecuting and imprisoning trade union leaders. Many of these engineers, scientists, and administrators left Venezuela and were hired by other countries’ oil industries.This modus operandi has intensified during the Maduro regime, especially the persecution of political opposition leaders and activists, whose options are to flee the country, seek refuge at an embassy, or become political prisoners — often in the infamous Helicoide jail. The swelling number of activists from different political parties living abroad and their stories of persecution, enduring threats and intimidation, and being smuggled out of the country, are examples that attest to the active participation of the regime.Maduro’s persecution has not only focused on political activists, but has extended to their families. Often, when the regime cannot subdue an opposition leader, either due to their prominence or because they have already fled, it turns to their relatives — as was recently seen with the persecution of the uncle of Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó.Intimidation campaign Venezuelan women refugees walk through a camp run by the United Nations in Maicao, Colombia, in May 2019. (Photo: Reuters)This persecution has not only targeted Venezuelan nationals. In 2015, the Maduro regime expelled over 2,000 Colombians living in Venezuela during a campaign of intimidation through an operative of the People’s Liberation Operation (OLP, in Spanish) — an anti-crime initiative of the government — that included members of the police checking individual houses in search of Colombians, and marking them with the letters R or D in paint, for “registered” or “demolish.” It then led to the emigration of an additional 22,000 Colombians due to the fear of repression from the regime’s forces.Persecuted Venezuelans have also included former court magistrates, journalists, nongovernmental organizations’ activists, and many who have raised their voice against the regime and have subsequently fled, after suffering threats, harassment by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN, in Spanish), and being accused of “treason against the homeland” — which would mean being tried in military courts.The Venezuelan regime does not keep public emigration statistics — a suggestion that it wants to hide the issue, does not place much importance on it, or wants to ignore it. Therefore, the data must come from other sources.A lesser threat to the regimeAt the same time, the regime has had a more passive role in the exodus, one that has been partly beneficial for its own survival. The first benefit it has enjoyed started with the first wave, and has continued since. Venezuelan sociologists Iván De la Vega and Claudia Vargas have shown that, unsurprisingly, those who migrate are more likely to support the opposition — a trend that has increased over the years. The massive departure, therefore, has decreased the number of critical voices within the country, reduced the turnouts during anti-governmental protests, and even made it more difficult for detractors to participate in elections — lessening the internal threat to the regime.The second benefit is connected to its expenses. The crisis that has led to migration has been mainly a product of the regime’s own failed social and economic policies. As has been widely reported, the economic crisis has had a very real strain on public services. Schools, hospitals, universities, water and electricity services, etc. have faced severe budget cuts.The exodus has helped the regime by reducing the number of children and young people who need to be educated, and the number of patients who need to be treated. It has meant that there are fewer mouths to feed, less need for medicines, fewer public sector employees to pay, and in general, a reduced pressure on public expenses. In the education sector alone, according to the government’s own data, from 2013 to 2017, more than 683,000 students stopped attending schools. The Venezuelan National Institute of Statistics indicates that between 2015 and 2018, more than 1,270 schools closed.The regime has also benefited from the remittances refugees sent back to Venezuela — helping to boost the struggling economy. The remittances have created jobs, allowed some families to maintain a decent standard of living, and given the economy much-needed foreign currency, which avoids much of the hyperinflation being experienced in the country. It is difficult to know the actual figure for the remittances, but they are believed to have reached over $3 billion a year at its peak.The country, however, has also suffered from critical brain drain. Insecurity, high inflation rates, and low salaries for public servants have led to the emigration of thousands of doctors, nurses, scientists, and educators. Venezuelan academics Jaime Requena and Carlo Caputo, fellows of Venezuela’s Academy of Physics, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences, underscored the stark situation and showed that between 1960 and 2000, only 235 stem researchers left the country, however, between 2000 and 2015, more than 1,450 left — numbers have since continued to rise.In addition, the large numbers of opposition politicians and activists abroad have formed influential pressure groups that continuously expose the repressive nature of the Maduro regime.COVID-19 impactThe COVID-19 situation in 2020 has brought a new dimension to the phenomenon. Many Venezuelans living abroad rely on informal work for their income, which has been hit particularly hard by the different countries’ lockdowns. Most of them also lack access to social security. As such, a number of Venezuelans have gone back home: It is estimated that around 15,000 Venezuelans have returned, a small percentage, but still an important number. The Maduro regime has used their return for its own political advantage — using it for propaganda purposes. There have also been reports of discrimination and of bad sanitary conditions in quarantine camps.Moreover, migrants are returning to a country with a shattered health system, ranked 176 out of 195 in the world, according to the John Hopkins University Centre for Health Security Index, which also tracks the spread of the virus. The World Food Programme estimates that more than 40 percent of Venezuelan households suffer from daily water cuts and that the country is at risk of suffering a major famine. By end of April 2020, the Venezuelan regime had only reported 329 cases of coronavirus and 10 deaths, though the numbers are likely much larger. With a lack of access to medicines, and where even handwashing is a challenge, the threat from the virus is ever present. The economy has been further hit with the lowest price of crude oil in history, plus a reduction in the amount of remittances. The regime will struggle even more in the coming months, and migrants will be forced to leave their country again, whether by force or by circumstances.The Venezuelan regime has been both an active and a passive force in the migration of Venezuelans, and has both benefited and been affected by the phenomenon. However, the situation brought by COVID-19 is not only unprecedented, but will also weaken even more Venezuela’s unstable public institutions.Paradoxically, any future transitional government will also have to rely on remittances and on the reduced pressure on public services. Many of those who have fled will undoubtedly return, especially those who have been persecuted. The transitional government will also need key workers to migrate back to Venezuela. However, it will also benefit from a staggered return from most others, to get the much-needed capital, and not overwhelm the weakened health system it will inherit. The consequences of the migration generated by the policies of the Chávez and Maduro regimes will continue to be felt for decades to come.last_img read more

Why teen savers have more financial success later in life

first_imgWhen Dawn Morgan was a teenager, she really wanted to get braces. Her parents, though, didn’t have the money for it, so she had to save for them herself. “I waited until I got my first job at age 16,” Morgan says.Later, in her 20s, Morgan took financial workshops to learn more about money management, including how to avoid debt and save. Now a freelance writer and filmmaker in her mid-30s, she’s in the midst of launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a short film, “Emily’s Braces,” featuring a teenage girl who learns about money by saving for braces – just as she did 20 years ago.As Morgan discovered firsthand, teenage money experiences, both good and bad, can influence spending habits in adulthood. Indeed, a paper by Annette Otto and Paul Webley published in June in the Journal of Consumer Affairs found that after age 15, saving money becomes more important to teenagers than borrowing money or negotiating over it with their parents. The authors suggest that teenagers might be especially motivated to learn how to be financially independent, so it’s a good time to broach the topic with them. The findings also underscore previous research that suggests saving at age 16 is closely linked to saving at age 34.“It confirms the findings of other work that money habits are really formed early in life. That’s why it’s important to have financial literacy in school,” says Annamaria Lusardi, academic director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at the George Washington University School of Business. She adds that the paper shows parents help shape the future financial behavior of their children. “It starts at home, at the dinner table,” she says. continue reading » 31SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

The market in minutes

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Dominica hosts Representatives of Henderson Sport Group and engage in partnership talks

first_img Tweet 27 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! LocalNewsSports Dominica hosts Representatives of Henderson Sport Group and engage in partnership talks by: – July 21, 2011 Sharecenter_img Share Share In photo: The Discover Dominica Authority’s logo. Photo credit: onelovelivity.comRoseau, Dominica – (July 21, 2011) –The Discover Dominica Authority and the Dominica Watersports Association (DWA) welcome sales agents and executives from Henderson Sport Group to the island this week.  Company executives and sales representatives from throughout the United States arrived on island on July 19 in anticipation of sealing the partnership. Dominica now considers Henderson “Destination Partners” as we seek to promote Dominica as a dive destination.This partnership is expected to expose more people to the potential of Dominica in the dive industry and increase the awareness of the island. While on island the group will be diving with local operators, visiting some of the unique attractions on the island and meeting with the local dive operators and members of the DWA.  A round-table discussion with dive operators will be held on Saturday, July 23, at the Fort Young Hotel. This opportunity presents a time for the local dive operators to foster relationships with the Henderson representatives and increase contacts and business for their respective operations.The DWA President Mr. Simon Walsh stated, “The DWA is pleased to develop a strategic relationship with Henderson Sport Group and believe this is an opportunity to create ambassadors who will return to the United States to market and promote Dominica.”This venture is possible thanks to the support and sponsorship of many of our local partners – Fort Young Hotel, Dive Dominica, KHATTS, Sunset Bay Club, Anchorage Hotel & Dive Centre, Cool Breeze Tours, Archipelago Trading and the members of DWA.The Discover Dominica Authority continues to work with journalists, travel agents and tour operators in its various overseas markets to ensure that the island receives as much exposure as possible in an effort to attract visitors to the island.Colin Piper, Director of Tourism, Discover Dominica Authority, added, “Dive operators play a vital role as representatives of a key product on the island.  Providing a top quality experience is important to maintain growth within the industry.  We thank them for their enthusiastic participation and encourage them to continue doing an excellent job as we work together to ensure that Dominica is the destination of choice for any Caribbean vacation and diving experience.”Press ReleaseDISCOVER DOMINICA AUTHORITYlast_img read more

Court hearing: Two men threatened to “kill” Arsenal midfielder

first_imgTwo men threatened to “kill” Mesut Ozil when they confronted the Arsenal midfielder’s security guards, a London court heard on Tuesday. The alleged incident happened outside Ozil’s north London home just weeks after the former World Cup winner was targeted by moped attackers while driving in the area. Security guard Kemil Sezer told the court that he and a colleague had been protecting Ozil, who was inside the house at the time, for several weeks. Salaman Ekinci and Ferhat Ercun deny behaving in a threatening or abusive manner outside the house. Assisted by a Turkish interpreter, Sezer told the Magistrates Court he first saw two men on the evening of August 8 last year before they returned around three hours later when it was dark. Sezer said the men told him: “We’re going to come back in five minutes and if security don’t go from here, we’re going to kill Mesut Ozil and kill you’. “We started chasing them … we got angry because Mesut Ozil, about two to three weeks prior, was attacked and we feared that the same thing would happen.” Ozil, who played international football for Germany but is of Turkish heritage, did not appear at the hearing. Loading… Ekinci and Ercun, both 27, were present. Asked by prosecutor Sarah Gabay how he felt, Sezer said: “Stressed. Mesut Ozil is loved by the Turkish people. “We have that responsibility on us to protect him.” The threats came around two weeks after Ozil and Arsenal team-mate Sead Kolasinac were ambushed by moped muggers who tried unsuccessfully to steal their £200,000 watches in an unrelated incident. Gabay said the pair were detained by the guards, who also had protection dogs, after they returned for a third time shortly after midnight before police were called. Read Also:Ozil decision scuppered Arsenal’s chance of signing Spanish playmaker “In interview, both defendants denied using the language and said there had been no conversation between them and said they had been attacked by the security guards,” she said. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Promoted ContentTV Characters Who Hated Each Other But Later Became FriendsEver Thought Of Sleeping Next To Celebs? This Guy Will Show YouBest Car Manufacturers In The WorldCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Better5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksWhat Happens To Your Brain When You Play Too Much Video Games?Who Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?Top 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All TimeA Guy Turns Gray Walls And Simple Bricks Into Works Of ArtTop 10 Tiniest Phones Ever Made8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its Growthlast_img read more

Onuoha: Eze can cut it big at Premier League level

first_img Loading… “And obviously he plays for QPR, that was a big part of my career and I hope he stays but I also hope that he gets the opportunities to play at a high level and really test himself and see if he can be amongst that company. “So if he’s to leave, I think the fans will thank him for everything he’s done. Read Also:QPR place £20m price tag on Eberechi Eze “And I want to see what he’s like playing in a different team, maybe in a bigger stadium, maybe bigger atmosphere, maybe some bigger games.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Former Manchester City fullback, Nedum Onuoha, has said Queens Park Rangers defender, Eberechi Eze, can cut it big at Premier League level. Eze Eze is being linked with Tottenham this week. And Onuoha told Love Sport Radio: “I played with him. He’s a friend of mine.Advertisementcenter_img Promoted Content7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Better7 Universities In The World With The Highest Market ValueTop 10 Most Romantic Nations In The World2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This Year10 Legendary Movies To Learn History FromBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoEver Thought Of Sleeping Next To Celebs? This Guy Will Show YouA Soviet Shot Put Thrower’s Record Hasn’t Been Beaten To This Day7 Theories About The Death Of Our UniverseMost Popular Movies With Sylvester StalloneThe 10 Best Secondary Education Systems In The Worldlast_img read more

Florida WWII veteran beats COVID-19, celebrates 99th birthday

first_imgA World War II veteran celebrated his 99th birthday last week just after beating COVID-19!According to Fox 13, Donald Betts, of St. Petersburg, FL, contracted the virus while at his assisted-living facility, where his 78-year-old niece — who has Alzheimer’s, also came down with COVID-19.Betts was able to beat the virus and celebrate his birthday!Betts’ niece is also doing well, and both are expected to head home later this week.last_img