Alaska

Alaska & Oyster Larvae in an Acidified Ocean

As the Pacific Ocean acidifies—a consequence of carbon emissions—oyster farms off California, Washington State, and British Columbia have struggled to get larvae to grow into seed, the stage when young oysters’ shells have formed. Though scientists are not quite sure why, the water off Southeast Alaska hasn’t seen the same deleterious effects. Now, entrepreneurs and investors are eyeing the state, looking to turn a profit off the short-lived gains of climate change.

Warming Seas Impact Alaskan Marine Ecosystem

Farther south, the Bering Sea has emerged as a hot spot for warming-water studies — almost literally. Sea-surface temperatures in the Bering reached 14 degrees Celsius last summer (57 degrees Fahrenheit) and were generally 3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal, scientists reported.

Phthalates Found in Aleutian Island Seabirds

The chemicals that Padula looks for in sea birds are called phthalates. They are a family of chemicals used to make plastic more flexible, and they can leach into the muscle and liver tissues of birds.

Padula found those chemicals in all of the birds she collected in the west Aleutians. But only some birds had visible pieces of plastic in their stomach.

Microplastics Found in Birds of Prey

“The implications are obvious and severe,” said Jim Elliott, director of the Center for Birds of Prey, about the discovery of the repellents and retardants in all 27 birds sampled among eagles, hawks and owls. “Who’s next on the (food chain) ladder? It’s us.”