Environment & Science

Long Beach conference on marine pollution draws scientists from around the world

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Marine scientists, researchers and students meet this week in Long Beach to talk about how pollution harms freshwater and ocean organisms. Scientists call the conference PRIMO.

PRIMO stands for “Pollutant Responses in Marine Organisms.” The first conference 30 years ago in England focused on the effects of chemicals on the health of the ocean.

They’re still talking about that; it’s just getting more complicated. Research presented will include studies looking at how substances like mercury, DDT and polluted sediment affect sea life in the U.S. and around the world.

The conference also takes on emerging contaminants, including the increasing levels of prescription drugs in wastewater discharged to the ocean.

Many of the presentations focus on chemicals that can interfere with an animal’s hormone system. A keynote address explores chemical changes to the ocean caused by a warming climate – a phenomenon called ocean acidification.

Researchers, educators and students will also discuss new science emerging from last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill.