(Press-News.org) An international study led by a University of Queensland researcher has revealed more than half the world's sea turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish.
The study, led by Dr Qamar Schuyler from UQ's School of Biological Sciences, found the east coasts of Australia and North America, Southeast Asia, southern Africa, and Hawaii were particularly dangerous for turtles due to a combination of debris loads and high species diversity.
"The results indicate that approximately 52 per cent of turtles world-wide have eaten debris," Dr Schuyler said.
The study examined threats to six marine turtle species from an estimated four million to 12 million tonnes of plastic which enter the oceans annually.
Plastic ingestion can kill turtles by blocking the gut or piercing the gut wall, and can cause other problems through the release of toxic chemicals into the animals' tissues.
"Australia and North America are lucky to host a number of turtle species, but we also therefore have a responsibility to look after our endangered wildlife," Dr Schuyler said.
"One way to do that is to reduce the amount of debris entering the oceans via our rivers and coastlines."
A previous study by Dr Schuyler and colleagues showed that plastics and other litter that entered the marine environment were mistaken for food or eaten accidentally by turtles and other wildlife.
The risk analysis found that olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) were at the highest risk, due to their feeding behaviour and distribution.
Olive ridley turtles commonly eat jellyfish and other floating animals, and often feed in the open ocean, where debris accumulates..
This research echoes the results of a similar study on seabirds published two weeks ago by CSIRO collaborator Dr Chris Wilcox and colleagues, which found that more than 60 per cent of seabird species had ingested debris, and that number was expected to reach 99 per cent by 2050.
"We now know that both sea turtles and seabirds are experiencing very high levels of debris ingestion, and that the issue is growing," Dr Wilcox said.
"It is only a matter of time before we see the same problems in other species, and even in the fish we eat."
The study, published in Global Change Biology, involved UQ's Dr Kathy Townsend and researchers at CSIRO Hobart, Texas A&M University, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Honolulu, University of NSW, and Imperial College London, UK.
It was part of an Australian Research Council Linkage project supported by Earthwatch Australia, CSIRO, Healthy Waterways and Australia Zoo.
Melbourne summer temperatures have been steadily climbing over the past 25 years, but even more so during the two weeks of the Australian Open in late January, new data analysis reveals.
The average afternoon temperature in January has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius per decade since 1987. But in the two weeks of the Australian Open - usually held in mid-late January - temperatures have increased by 1.25 degrees per decade.
Ben Hague, a third-year Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences student at the University of Melbourne, said extreme summer temperatures have also become more ...
MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Sept. 14, 2015)--A new study finds that the characteristics of one's community may be as important as individual factors on the decision to become an organ donor. The study, published in The Milbank Quarterly, shows an association between sociodemographic/social capital measures and organ donor registrations across 4,466 Massachusetts neighborhoods. In order to increase organ donation registrations, the research suggests that future health policies adopt a community-level focus.
The shortage of organs for transplantation has reached unprecedented ...
The globe's forests have shrunk by three per cent since 1990 - an area equivalent to the size of South Africa - despite significant improvements in conservation over the past decade.
The UN's Global Forest Resources Assessment (GFRA) 2015 was released this week, revealing that while the pace of forest loss has slowed, the damage over the past 25 years has been considerable.
Total forest area has declined by three per cent between 1990 and 2015 from 4,128 million hectares to 3,999 million hectares - a loss of 129 million hectares.
Significantly, loss of natural forested ...
Alzheimer's-disease-related proteases, BACE1 and APH1B-y-secretase, control axonal guidance by regulating growth cone dynamics
BACE1 is the major drug target for Alzheimer's disease, but we know surprisingly little about its normal function in the CNS. Soraia Barão and Bart De Strooper (VIB/KU Leuven) now show that this protease is critically involved in axonal guidance processes in thalamic and hippocampal neurons. An active membrane bound proteolytic CHL1 fragment is generated by BACE1 upon Sema3A binding. This fragment relays the Sema3A signal to the neuronal ...
Persons sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 10 hours suffer from low-grade inflammation more often than persons sleeping 7-8 hours per night. This was observed in a University of Eastern Finland study focusing on the health and lifestyle habits among middle-aged men.
"Earlier studies have found a relation between reduced sleep and low-grade inflammation," says Maria Luojus, MHSc, one of the study researchers.
Furthermore, low-grade inflammation occurs in overweight, depression and diabetes.
The study is the first to analyse the association between sleep duration ...
Results of a 20-year follow-up of the academic EORTC 22881-10882 boost no-boost trial presented as a "Best Abstract" at the European Cancer Congress 2015 in Vienna show that young age, high-grade invasive tumor, and the presence of associated ductal carcinoma in situ were all factors increasing the local recurrence rate. An earlier analysis had already shown that young age and high-grade invasive carcinoma were the most important risk factors for local relapse in this trial conducted from 1989 to 1996.
Dr. Conny Vrieling of the Clinique des Grangettes in Geneva, Switzerland, ...
A new study has confirmed that regular smokers have a significantly increased risk of tooth loss.
Male smokers are up to 3.6 times more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers, whereas female smokers were found to be 2.5 times more likely.
The research, published in the Journal of Dental Research, is the output of a long-term longitudinal study of the EPIC Potsdam cohort in Germany carried out by researchers at the University of Birmingham and the German Institute of Human Nutrition.
Tooth loss remains a major public health problem worldwide. In the UK, 15% of ...
Malnutrition is a known complication of weight loss surgery, but findings from a small study by researchers at Johns Hopkins show many obese people may be malnourished before they undergo the procedure.
"Our results highlight the often-overlooked paradox that abundance of food and good nutrition are not one and the same," says senior investigator Kimberley Steele, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Overweight and obese people can suffer from nutritional deficiencies, and those who care for them should be aware ...
Telecommunication networks will soon reach the physical limits of current technology and in order to overcome the current bottleneck, they will have to exploit the quantum properties of light. Roberto Morandotti and his INRS team are paving the way to this technological revolution by removing the technical barriers of quantum photonics through the use of their optical chips. Recently they directly generated cross-polarized (orthogonal) photon pairs on a chip, a first in quantum optics. Polarization will now be among the controllable parameters for harnessing light in a ...
The first images of motor proteins in action are published in the journal Nature Communications today.
These proteins are vital to complex life, forming the transport infrastructure that allows different parts of cells to specialise in particular functions. Until now, the way they move has never been directly observed.
Researchers at the University of Leeds and in Japan used electron microscopes to capture images of the largest type of motor protein, called dynein, during the act of stepping along its molecular track.
Dr Stan Burgess, at the University of Leeds' ...