The skinny on sunscreens: UV filter impacts on coral reefs, with Yasmine Watkins

Credit: rh2010, Adobe Stock.

We all know that it’s important to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun. But what happens to the sunscreen that washes off into the water—whether swimming in the ocean or lake, or down the drain while showering afterward? We have only recently begun to learn about the consequences of sunscreen use, from endocrine disruption to harmful effects on wildlife and environmental damage. The September 2021 issue of IEAM features a special series on sunscreen in aquatic ecosystems. One article reviews the impacts of chemical sunscreens on coral reefs and then identifies knowledge gaps and research priorities. We spoke with lead author Yasmine Watkins to learn more. Access the article “Investigating the exposure and impact of chemical UV filters on coral reef ecosystems: Review and research gap prioritization” in the September 2021 issue of IEAM.

Listen on iTunes or YouTube.

About the Guest

Yasmine Watkins is a recent postgraduate from the University of York specializing in Marine Environmental Management. Her thesis project investigated the impacts of ultraviolet (UV) blocking chemicals in coral reef ecosystems. While obtaining her MSc in York and BSc Honors degree in Marine Biology at Swansea University, Yasmine has undertaken multiple research projects with various organizations and institutes including Love The Oceans, Center for Marine Science at Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory, Jamaica and undertook a placement with the Institute for Marine Research (IMR), Philippines. Her research interests focus on exploring the relationships between the marine environment and anthropogenic stressors particularly within a coral reef ecosystem and looking into the conservation issues of future management. Yasmine is currently interning with the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS), where she hopes to continue her research into the impacts of UV filter exposure on coral reef ecosystems.

Articles Referenced in this Podcast

Watkins YSD, Sallach JB. 2021. Investigating the exposure and impact of chemical UV filters on coral reef ecosystems: Review and research gap prioritization. Integr Environ Assess Manag 17: 967-981.

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