Copepod is the research vessel for the Goes Foundation, the purpose of Copepod is to collect samples of marine plankton, including copepods, for priority chemical analysis, but we also need the help of as many yachts as possible. GOES will provide ocean going yachts with plankton nets and equipment for the collection and preservation of plankton samples. The samples are then returned to GOES for analysis.
There are many organisations sampling and testing for marine micro-plastics, which is very important. However, plastic is hydrophobic and will adsorb many of the priority chemicals. Zooplankton then ingest the micro-plastics and priority chemicals and receive a dose of the chemicals millions of times more concentrated than in the water. The priority chemicals impact on the growth and productivity of the plankton, we consider that this may be the primary mechanism for climate change as opposed to the burning of fossil fuels. Zooplankton are subsequently eaten by fish, marine mammals and birds. Reproduction success is for all marine mammals is dropping, killer whales cannot reproduce in Northern Europe, and other cetaceans such as Sperm Whales are beaching themselves.
The consequences and effects of priority chemicals has been almost completely ignored, yet it will result in a cascade failure of the entire marine ecosystems in next 25 to 40 years unless we take action now. Failure to take action will result in a loss of most of our marine mammals and birds as well as teleost fish and a food supply for 2 billion people.
Copepods are marine zooplankton that are used as indicator species to determine the health and status of the marine ecosystem. At Goes Foundation we are taking it one stage further by chemical analysis of the organisms for priority chemicals, the information will be used to raise awareness and hopefully effect change.
Newcastle University marine science department have discovered “extraordinary” levels of toxic pollution in the most remote and inaccessible place on the planet – the 10km deep Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean.
Small crustaceans that live in the pitch-black waters of the trench, captured by a robotic submarine, were contaminated with 50 times more toxic chemicals than crabs that survive in heavily polluted rivers in China.
“We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” said Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University in the UK, who led the research.
“The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants really brings home the long-term, devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet,” he said.
Jamieson’s team identified two key types of severely toxic industrial chemicals that were banned in the late 1970s, but do not break down in the environment, known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These chemicals have previously been found at high levels in Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic and in killer whales and dolphins in western Europe.
The research, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, suggests that the POPs infiltrate the deepest parts of the oceans as dead animals and particles of plastic fall downwards. POPs accumulate in fat and are therefore concentrated in creatures up the food chain. They are also water-repellent and so stick to plastic waste.