U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Hawaii Clean Water Act Case

photo: degraded coral reef

Degraded coral reefs at Kahekili Beach Park in west Maui, Hawaii. Peter Swarzenski / Usgs

In a case watched closely both by polluting industries and clean water advocates across the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up an appeal of a Clean Water Act case out of Hawaii concerning treated sewage flowing into the Pacific Ocean from injection wells.

Last March, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals … [more…]

Should we corral reefs?

photo: a home aquarium

TANKS IN THE DARK. An enthusiast’s aquarium, filled with various fish species, is situated within the four walls of his bedroom. Photo by Kelly Veneracion

In the world of aquarium keeping, beauty has a price.

Scientists and environmentalists are concerned with the alarming status of coral reefs in the Philippines, which was confirmed in a nationwide survey held this year. According to a Philippine Journal of Science report on initial … [more…]

A killer coral disease has reached Key West, scientists say — and it’s not stopping

photo: A killer coral disease

Photo: Disease, evident on the right, is decimating coral in the Florida Keys. GETTY IMAGES

The killer and mysterious coral disease that first struck Florida in 2014 has now reached the outer reefs of Key West and beyond, scientists say.

Now called stony coral tissue loss disease, the outbreak reached Looe Key in the Lower Keys last spring and seemed to contain itself.

But by December, it had landed at … [more…]

To fix the reef we first need to fix the land – but where do we start?

photo: To fix the reef we first need to fix the land – but where do we start?

Photo: The Great Barrier Reef, Northern Queensland, Australia

Rivers deliver sediment from land to the ocean. This sediment contains nutrients which can feed microscopic algae in water. But, if there is too much sediment and nutrients, delivered by floods from land-based erosion, algal blooms can occur that have negative effects on the Great Barrier Reef.

The challenge is that sediment comes from many different locations and we need to know … [more…]

Sunscreen chemicals in water may harm fish embryos

photo: sunset over the ocean. Sunscreen chemicals in water may harm fish embryos

Photo: CC0 Public Domain

A painful sunburn can ruin a vacation, and too much sun can also lead to more serious problems like premature skin aging and melanoma. Therefore, manufacturers have added ultraviolet (UV) filters to many personal care products, including sunscreens, moisturizers and makeup.

Scientists have detected these substances in the environment, but most studies have concluded that individual sunscreen chemicals are not present at high-enough levels to harm … [more…]