Showing posts from April, 2017

Worms May Save the World From Plastic Glut

Wax Worm, unlikely ally fighting plastic pollution

Worm guts may save the world from the avalanche of plastic accumulating  in the environment. Humans produce about 80 million tonnes of polyethylene every year. An amateur beekeeper in Spain has discovered a caterpillar that actually munches and thrives on the plastic. It helps that Federica Bertocchini is a biologist working at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology in Spain.
She noticed that her beehives were infested with these “worms”, the larvae of the wax moth, Galleria mellonella, and were happily munching through her honeycombs. She tossed them into a plastic bag and found they quickly escaped by chewing holes in the bag.
Polyethylene is slow to biodegrade and often fails to do so over many months. Scientists have tried exposing it to various life forms like bacteria and fungi but the process is slow. The wax worms are fast, munching holes in the plastic and converting it to ethylene glycol.
The wax moths may be found …

Last Orca Born at Sea World Texas

Orcas belong in the ocean Sea World, Texas, has announced that an Orca calf was born on April 19 will be the last one at their facility. The public has learned a great deal since the first Orca or Killer Whale was captured alive and displayed at an aquarium and the tide of opinion has turned against the capture and breeding of the animals.
Mortality rates are higher in Orcas that are confined and kept away from their family groups. Sea World has had 43 pregnancies in its captive Orcas. Half of those pregnancies ended in miscarriages or early death of the youngsters.
In the wild, Orcas live in family groups led by a matriarch. Males can live as long as 60 years and females as long as 90. They have complex communications and are judged to be intelligent. They have large brains and can “speak” in several whale dialects. Younger whales in the pod learn from the older members.
There are also three distinct groups of Orcas. One group lives in the open ocean and hunts sharks; one hunts mamm…

Campbell River British Columbia at Risk for Oil Spills

Would you like oil with that?

 Top: Early morning looking toward Quadra Island Top Rt. Totem figures holding up roof of gathering place. Many small fishers depend on clean unpolluted waters.Rt. end of building depicts Sea Snake(serpent) First Nation Art.
Left. Art work along esplanade. Based on war helmet.
Bottom: Welcome figure on sea side of FN shopping centre

Campbell River is just one of many small coastal towns at risk for oil spills. While the government in Ottawa debates the merits of oil pipelines and proposed increase of tanker traffic in the hundreds per year, these small coastal towns remain vulnerable.
This little town located on the northern and eastern coast of Vancouver Island has seen its ups and downs over the years. A hydro-electric dam started in the late 40s brought temporary work for men. Logging and fishing were big money makers through the following decades. But once the big timbers were cut and easy fishing played out the cycle of boom and bust continued. Recen…