Monday January 9, 2023


By using samples from an almost century-old, ongoing survey of marine plankton, a team of researchers led by the University of California, San Diego has found that increasing levels of manmade chemicals found in some parts of the world’s oceans might play an important role in monitoring the impact of human activity on ecosystem health, and may be used in the future to examine the connections between ocean pollution and land-based rates of childhood and adult chronic diseases.

“This was a pilot study to test the feasibility of using archived samples of plankton from the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey to reconstruct historical trends in marine pollution over space and time,” said senior author Robert K. Naviaux, an expert in Mitochondrial Medicine and Complex Chronic Disorders at UC San Diego. “We were motivated to explore these new methods by the alarming increase in childhood and adult chronic disease that has occurred around the world since the 1980s.”

“Recent studies have underscored the tight linkage between ocean pollution and human health. In this study, we asked the question: Do changes in the plankton exposome (the measure of all exposures in a lifetime) correlate with ecosystem and fisheries health? We also wanted to lay the groundwork for asking a second question: Can humanmade chemicals in plankton be used as a barometer to measure changes in the global chemosphere that might contribute to childhood and adult illness?”

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