I am a multi-disciplinary ecologist who studies how humans impact the ecology and evolution of the oceans. I am particularly interested in coral reef ecosystems which are currently undergoing a perilous decline. By improving our understanding of how corals function and how they have evolved over time, my goal is to foster their conservation for future generations.



ABOUT the LAB

the PROBLEM

Humans, and the important ecosystems we rely on suffer from our mismanaged wastes. Nutrients (mostly the nitrogen in our urine) cause algae blooms and incite disease in the ocean. Fecal bacteria contaminate beaches, threaten human health and introduce pathogens and toxins in the oceans that cause disease, and eventually enter the food chain we depend on. Today, the scale of the impacts of our everyday wastes are largely unknown.



THE SCALE OF THIS PROBLEM IS HUGE!



Consider that the 2010 BP oil spill dumped an estimated 206 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of three months (top video to the right). In comparison, sewage outfalls off the coast of Florida dump more than 400 million gallons of partially treated sewage into the Atlantic Ocean EVERY DAY! And this has been going on for decades (lower video).

Do they look similar to you?


Why did the BP oil spill draw such a national public outcry, while sewage dumping receives relatively little attention?

What impact does this have on the oceans?



© 2012 by David M. Baker. All rights reserved

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