You are what you eat: Microplastics in seafood, with David Santillo

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Plastic fish art installation, Nye Beach, Oregon. Credit: mmoca, CC BY-ND 2.0.

You are what you eat, or so you think. The next time you sit down to enjoy that bowl of cioppino or salmon fillet, you may be ingesting more than you realize. Plastic pollution is widespread in global waters, and microplastics—particles smaller than 5 mm—are being increasingly found in the most popular seafood items.

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Hazard vs risk: Peter Matthiessen on assessing environmental effects of endocrine disruptors

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Credit: Jocelyn Wallace, CC BY-SA 2.0.

From the infamous bisphenol A (BPA) to feminized male fish, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDS) remain at the center of many controversies involving chemicals in consumer products. International efforts to address concerns over ecotoxicological effects from EDS include both risk- and hazard-based approaches to preventing adverse effects, depending on the country or intergovernmental agency. A recent SETAC Pellston workshop convened researchers from all over the world to advise on how regulators and policy makers can make science-based decisions when evaluating EDS. Workshop organizer and lead author Peter Matthiessen joins us to discuss the synthesis paper from the workshop, “Recommended approaches to the scientific evaluation of ecotoxicological hazards and risks of endocrine-active substances.” His article leads off the special series “Ecotoxicological Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine-Active Substances.” Access the full series in the March 2017 issue of IEAM.

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No small deal: Evaluating nanomaterials with alternatives assessment, with Rune Hjorth

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Zinc nanoflowers combined with graphene oxide layers help to extend battery life (scanning EM image). Credit: Dilek Ozgit, Engineering, Cambridge Univ., CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Nanomaterials are small but key components in consumer products like electronics, sunscreens, and antimicrobial clothing, just to name a few. Despite their widespread use, scientists are still struggling to assess their potential hazards, with regulatory policy hinging on these assessments. Author Rune Hjorth discusses how alternatives assessment frameworks can be adapted to evaluate nanomaterials. Access the article, “The applicability of chemical alternatives assessment for engineered nanomaterials,” in the January 2017 issue of IEAM.

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Pulling it all together: Harmonizing marine environmental assessment, with Ruud Jongbloed

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Port of Tagonoura, Japan, with Mt. Fuji in the background. Credit: Hoshner Sigmaniax, CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped and brightened from original).

Human activities and other pressures on marine ecosystems are ever increasing, underscoring the need for responsible, sustainable management. Several types of environmental assessment exist, but which is the most appropriate for your assessment needs? Enter CUMULEO, a framework that defines common EA elements and introduces consistency, while remaining adaptable to assessments for marine and other ecosystems. We chat with Ruud Jongbloed to get the highlights of CUMULEO. Access the critical review in the October 2016 issue of IEAM.

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At your service! Linking healthy ecological function to human well-being, with Wayne Munns

Shenandoah River. Credit: Mariano Mantel, CC BY-NC 2.0.

 

We benefit from ecosystem services (ES) everyday—the water we drink, the food we eat, even the vacation at the beach. It is widely recognized that we need to protect the ecological processes that deliver these benefits, yet ES have not yet been formally incorporated into environmental risk assessment, one of the primary methods that inform regulatory decision making. Wayne Munns discusses the reasons for and challenges to the routine inclusion of ES endpoints in ERAs. Access the article in the July 2016 issue of IEAM.

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Impaired Ecosystems: Ounce of Prevention or Pound of Cure? With Aida Farag & Ruth Hull

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Blackwater Wildife Refuge Wetlands Restoration Project, Maryland. Credit: Adam Lindquist, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Although many people confuse the terms remediation and restoration, they are two separate processes in the restoration of impaired ecosystems. A special series in the April 2016 issue of IEAM challenges practitioners and researchers to rethink the traditional linear, sequential process of ecological restoration, instead encouraging a collaborative approach along the way, to integrate restoration goals throughout the process, beginning with site assessment. Guest Editors Aida Farag and Ruth Hull discuss workshop findings and tell us why we should heed an ounce of prevention when restoring ecosystems. Access the series in the April 2016 issue of IEAM.

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Get Real! Stuart Hurlbert on Pseudoreplication and Other Sins of Statistical Analysis

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Experimental zebrafish (Danio rerio). Credit: Novartis AG, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Think you know stats? Stuart Hurlbert first described pseudoreplication—a common but serious statistical error—in 1984. Despite widespread knowledge of the error, pseudoreplication is often misinterpreted, and literature surveys show that the error is on the rise in certain fields. Listen to Hurlbert define pseudoreplication and other related errors, plus hear why we shouldn’t dichotomize results as “significant” and “non-significant,” what’s missing from basics stats courses, and what’s next on his list.

Access the Learned Discourse by Hurlbert and Lombardi in the January 2016 issue of IEAM.

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