About this Research Topic
Increasing human populations and our associated demands for food, industrialization and global transport will exacerbate the effect of environmental-anthropogenic pollutants in combination with climate change. Since the last century, legacy and emerging pollutants are conspiring against the health of the global ocean and survival of marine species. The conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and the marine environment, including transient estuarine, marine coastal and offshore habitats, are major priorities in the global environmental agenda to significantly minimize habitat degradation and the existing rate of species loss to conserve the oceans.
Legacy and emerging pollutants, including persistent organic pollutants (POPs), current use pesticides (CUPs), heavy metals, marine debris and microplastics, personal care products and pharmaceuticals (PCPPs), and radionuclides are existing and looming threats in the global ocean. The bioaccumulative and toxic nature of POPs and organic mercury is a particular stressor affecting organisms at the top of marine food webs (i.e. sea birds, marine mammals, sea turtles, large pelagic fish and humans) because of the inherent toxicity and health effects of these chemicals. New emerging anthropogenic pollutant such as nanoparticles, microplastics, PCPPs and radionuclides (e.g., Cesium 137 following the Fukushima aftermath on March 2011) pose not only a new protracted risk for marine organisms, but new research challenges for ecotoxicologists, marine biologists, chemical and biological oceanographers, and environmental scientists. Likewise, recent modeling work showed that a wide range of POPs deposited in sinks such as oceans and ice were unexpectedly remobilized and re-volatilized into the atmosphere from repositories in Arctic regions over the past two decades as a result of climate change. Thus, climate change is likely to affect the transport, fate and effects of environmental contaminants. Both climate change and environmental pollution as the major human-induced drivers in the 21st century affecting and transforming marine ecosystems and ocean health, threatening the viability of coastal resources, food security and sustainable resource development. Increasing human populations and the associated demands for food, industrialization and continue global emissions of greenhouse gases will exacerbate the effects of climate change and environmental pollutants. In this context, marine pollution continues to be one of the major anthropogenic factors affecting biodiversity and fisheries in the global ocean.
Ecotoxicological research and science-based information are crucial to support risk assessment and management of anthropogenic pollutants in the face of global environmental change. The interplay of climate change (i.e. ocean warming and ocean acidification) and marine pollution with associated impacts to marine organisms and food webs represent a new looming threat to be assessed and addressed for marine ecotoxicologists and marine policy scientists.
This Research Topic in Marine Pollution will focus on an update of current research fronts on marine ecotoxicology, biomonitoring and state of the art approaches to investigate, assess and model the risk of pollutants to marine fauna, seafoods and food webs in our changing oceans in an era of anthropogenic climate change. To accomplish this goal, we expect to integrate and discus several subjects about new emerging POPs (PBDE flame retardants, PFOS), exposure and accumulation of metals with special emphasis on organic mercury, PPCPs, nanoparticles, microplastics, and radionuclides in marine organisms and ecosystems. Based on a combination of original research articles, reviews, short communications and letters, and marine policy essays by scientists, government and policy-makers, graduate students, NGOs and private/industrial organizations, we hope to bring to this Topic, new research, baseline data, modeling tools and potential management strategies to provide knowledge and a better understanding of the marine pollution crisis with the aim of recovering and protecting marine ecosystems and the well-being of our oceans.
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