The Deepwater Oil Release Impact on Marine Life

New reports are surfacing every day about the immediate impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf Coast wildlife, especially as the oil reaches the sensitive marshlands along the coast. What will be the long term impact to local marine life? There is some knowledge from earlier releases such as Valdez off Alaska. Oil contains complex hydrocarbons and heavy metals. Such materials will be absorbed and have impact on the local marine life over time. How they will be absorbed, how much and their effects are unknown or debatable. To begin to address this issue, Academy scientist Peter Roopnarine is working with Laurie Anderson from Louisiana State University and David Goodwin from Denison University to collect and analyze three different types of mollusks from the Gulf Coast. These animals are continually building their shells, and if contaminants are present in their environment, they can incorporate those compounds into their shells.

Fishing restrictions bring better catches, says study

Closing fishing areas and regulating the use of fishing gear can result in more profitable catches that boost fishermen's incomes, according to a study. The conclusion has emerged from a long-term investigation in Kenya on the effects of fishery closures on fishermen's profits. The study, published today in Conservation Biology, used data on 27,000 fish caught in three locations off the Kenyan coast over a period of 12 years.

A New Source Of Dioxins: Anti-Bacterial Soap Combining with Chlorine in Wastewater Sewage Plants

Manufacturers have been adding the germ fighter triclosan to soaps, hand washes, and a range of other products for years. But here's a dirty little secret: Once it washes down the drain, that triclosan can spawn dioxins. Dioxins come in 75 different flavors, distinguished by how many chlorine atoms dangle from each and where those atoms have attached (their locations indicated by the numbers in the front part of a dioxin's name). The most toxic is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, or TCDD. Some related kin bearing four to eight chlorines are also toxic, just less so.

Most large companies plan to increase spending on climate

Seventy percent of firms with revenue of $1 billion or more say they plan to increase spending on climate change initiatives in the next two years, a global survey reported on Tuesday. Nearly half of the 300 corporate executives who responded to a survey conducted for the accounting and consulting giant Ernst & Young said their climate change investments will range from 0.5 percent to more than 5 percent of revenues by 2012. More than four out of five respondents, or 82 percent, said they plan to invest in energy efficiency in the next 12 months, with 92 percent saying energy costs will be an important driver over that period.

Nuts Lower Cholesterol, Study Finds

A diet with nuts, including pistachios, significantly lowered total and LDL-cholesterol levels, in addition to triglycerides, a new study found. The finding, published earlier this month in the Archives of Internal Medicine, confirms other evidence that nuts can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers said.

BP reduces estimate of how much oil it is capturing

BP sharply reduced its estimate on Monday of how much oil it is siphoning off each day from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico that has been spewing oil for a month and threatening ecological disaster. The British-based energy giant said the oil captured on average by a mile-long siphon tube was 2,010 barrels (84,420 gallons/319,500 liters) per day in the six days before May 23, less than half the up to 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) per day the company estimated it had been capturing. At times the capture was as low as 1,360 barrels per day (57,120 gallons/216,200 liters). The oil group believes about 5,000 barrels have been leaking every day, although some experts have given significantly higher estimates for the size of the leak. The lower estimate came as two members of U.S. President Barack Obama's Cabinet were to visit the fouled Gulf Coast on Monday to keep pressure on BP in hopes of averting a looming environmental catastrophe.

EPA Administrator to visit Gulf

Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, the top U.S. environmental official was to visit the Gulf Coast on Sunday as energy giant BP Plc scrambled to contain a widening oil spill. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson planned to return to the Gulf to monitor the EPA's response, while Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was to travel to the BP Command Center in Houston to get an update from the federal science team working on the problem. The two Cabinet members' missions underscore the rising political and economic stakes for the Obama administration in dealing with the environmental disaster, which grows worse as oil gushes from a ruptured well on the sea floor.

More Gulf drilling only if ensure no more spills, Obama

President Barack Obama said on Saturday that offshore oil drilling could only go forward if there were assurances that a disaster like the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill would not happen again. As Obama officially unveiled a commission to investigate the accident, he issued a stern message that while keeping pressure on firms involved in the still-uncapped spill -- BP, Halliburton and Transocean Ltd -- he would also hold Washington accountable for mending its ways. In his executive order announcing former Democratic Senator Bob Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency chief William Reilly would co-chair the panel, Obama also made his first reference to the possibility of a separate criminal probe into disaster.

The New Synthetic Cell

J. Craig Venter has created a “synthetic cell” by synthesizing a complete bacterial genome and using it to take over a cell. Venter’s breakthrough, reported in the online edition of Science, represents a preliminary step toward the goal of creating microbes from scratch in the lab and using them to make biofuels, vaccines, and other products.

Gulf Oil Threat to Florida Waning Fast

No one is lowering their guard just yet, but the chances are diminishing that significant amounts of oil from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon spill will soon make it to southern Florida. In part, it is the behavior of the Gulf of Mexico's increasingly infamous Loop Current that could lower the threat.