Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Collateral Damage

The last line from the newscaster is classic: "Experts at the scene today don't think anyone killed the birds intentionally." Right. We killed them unintentionally.

According to a review issued jointly by the UN Environment Programme and Woods Hole Research Center, "Reactive Nitrogen in the Environment", pollution from burning fuels, sewage, and excessive fertilization in industrial agriculture triggers algal blooms in lakes, rivers and coastal waters, which take oxygen out of the water resulting in hypoxic or anoxic regions.  This loss of oxygen causes other forms of life to expire, and then again, some of those algal blooms are toxic, like the red tide in the picture above, poisoning whatever eats contaminated seafood.  Like those birds on the beach in Moss Landing.

"Global map of 199 coastal oxygen depletion zones related to anthropogenic eutrophication.  Updated from Diaz et al., 2004, by personal communication from R. Diaz, 2007."

"Diagram of the biogeochemical nitrogen cascade, showing the major fluxes of reactive nitrogen among atmospheric, terrestrial, freshwater and estuarine systems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These inputs of reactive N to the Bay are attributed to three source types: energy production, food and fiber production, and wastewater. Arrow width varies according to flux size.  Adapted from Moomaw and Birch, 2005."  This model is applicable to other estuaries as well.

Thanks to the Coming Crisis for posting the newscast


  1. Tell it like is, Wit'sEnd.
    Kick em on the knee with the hard truth...and when they grab their knee in pain...kick em on the other knee...! Then, even on their knees, they will have to stand on truth.
    And if they really get it... they will stand together with us in truth.

    Like James Brown said, "Say it loud, say it proud".


  2. I sent your blog link to the ecology lab mentioned in this article:
    Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center (www.jonesctr.org)in south Georgia, funded by Robert W. Woodruff before he died 25 years ago.



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