Pollution: Top Stories

Humans threaten wetlands’ ability to keep pace with sea-level rise (December 2013) Left to themselves, coastal wetlands can withstand rapid rates of sea-level rise. But humans could be sabotaging some of the wetlands’ best defenses, according to a Nature review paper by VIMS researcher Matt Kirwan and Pat Megonigal of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

VIMS researchers monitor harmful algal bloom (September 2013) VIMS researchers continue to monitor a large bloom of Alexandrium monilatum in the lower York River and blooms of Cochlodinium and other species throughout the lower Bay.

VIMS researchers monitor “red tides” in local waters (August 2013) Algal blooms have appeared in Chesapeake Bay several weeks later this year than last, likely due to this summer’s cooler temperatures.

Study: source of organic matter affects Bay water quality (April 2013)

Persistence of “urban” organics downstream favors dead-zone formation.

VIMS scientists contribute to "Bay Barometer" (February 2013)
Research and monitoring at VIMS provide data used to compile Chesapeake Bay Program's annual report on Bay health and the status of restoration efforts.

VIMS study reveals unexpected pollutant levels in South African harbor (November 2012)
Recycling of e-waste one likely source of flame-retardant compounds.

VIMS researchers monitor harmful algal bloom (August 2012)
Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science continue to monitor a large but patchy bloom of harmful algae in the York River near VIMS.

Aerial photos reveal extent of algal blooms (August 2012)
High-resolution aerial photographs taken by VIMS professor Kim Reece show the broad extent of the algal blooms currently discoloring lower Chesapeake Bay.

Ecosystem effects of biodiversity loss could rival impacts of climate change and pollution (May 2012)
New study from international research team including professor J. Emmett Duffy of VIMS highlights need for stronger efforts to protect biodiversity and the benefits it provides.

W&M GIG takes transdisciplinary look at mercury pollution (May 2012)
Michael Newman and Sharon Zuber edit book chronicling the College's Global Inquiry Group.

Can sound science guide dispersant use during subsea oil spills? (April 2012)
VIMS researchers test whether sound waves can help determine the size of subsea oil droplets--knowledge that could help guide the use of chemical dispersants during the cleanup of future spills.

Long-term monitoring programs throw light on storm impacts (September 2011)
VIMS to study how sediment plume from Irene and Lee might affect Bay.

VIMS professor uses "WormCams" to study effects of oil spill on Gulf food chain (September 2011)
VIMS professor Bob Diaz is part of a nationwide team that recently received a three-year, $12M grant to study the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf and its marine life.

VIMS professor leads deep-sea survey in response to Gulf oil spill (June 2011)
NOAA selects Dr. Tracey Sutton to survey deep-sea life in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the long-term scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Jellyfish blooms shunt food energy from fish to bacteria (June 2011)
Study shows that jellyfish can drastically alter marine food webs by shunting food energy from fish toward bacteria.

Tests show new biosensor can guide environmental clean ups (May 2011)
Device can also provide an early warning system for spills.

Public-private partnership aids oyster industry (March 2011)
A joint study by local oyster growers and researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that moving farmed oysters into saltier waters just prior to harvest nearly eliminates the presence of a bacterium that can sicken humans.

VIMS and Longwood commit to restoration partnership (December 2010)
VIMS and Longwood University's Hull Springs Farm will partner to restore wetlands, stream buffers, and streams.

Research sheds light on importance of submarine groundwater (November 2010)
Research by professor Aaron Beck suggests that flows of underground water may play a bigger role in marine ecosystems than previously thought.

Diaz briefs Congress on environmental effects of oil dispersants (July 2010)
VIMS professor Robert Diaz briefs Congress on the ecological effects of the chemical dispersants used in the Gulf oil spill.

Study can help minimize impact of dredge spoils (July 2010)
VIMS professor Linda Schaffner provides data that can help in-water disposal of dredge spoils proceed with minimal environmental impact.

VIMS helps bring science to Gulf spill (June 2010)
VIMS researchers and alumni are helping to craft the nation's immediate and long-term scientific responses to the Gulf oil spill.

Facilities Management earns wastewater awards (April 2010)
VIMS has received two prestigious awards in recognition of exemplary performance in managing wastewater on its 40-acre campus in Gloucester Point.

VIMS assists in oil-spill drill (October 2009)
Oil-spill exercise on the York River helps emergency-management teams better coordinate their responses to such an event.

VIMS researchers use contaminants to reveal origin of Atlantic tuna (October 2009)
Professor Rebecca Dickhut and colleagues use chemical contaminants to reveal the birthplace of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean.

Team detects deep-sea contamination (June 2008)
VIMS researchers have detected manmade contaminants in the tissues of deep-sea squid and octopi. The team's discovery helps explain elevated contaminant levels recently found in whales and other marine mammals, many species of which depend on deep-sea squid and octopi for food.

DDT persists in Antarctic ice (May 2008)
Research by VIMS graduate student Heidi Geisz and colleagues shows that DDT and its breakdown products persist within the tissues of Adélie penguins, three decades after use of the powerful pesticide was banned in most countries. The findings raise concern about the potential cumulative effects of contaminants on penguins and other Antarctic predators.

PBDEs in Chinese raptors (Feb 2007)
A study led by VIMS researchers Da Chen and Rob Hale reveals that birds of prey in China have some of the highest  levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) ever recorded in an animal.

Crest Articles

Dickhut puts pollutants to good use
Professor Rebecca Dickhut is attempting to use persistent organic pollutants such as PCBs and chlordane to help measure the degree of mixing between Mediterranean and western Atlantic stocks of bluefin tuna—a finding with important implications for management of the bluefin fishery

Biosensors promise new era in research
VIMS researchers  are tapping the immune system’s power—and the latest advances in electronic instruments—to create antibody-based sensors that can recognize and bind with viruses, bacteria, and toxins.

Hale takes PBDE research to the air
VIMS Professor Dr. Rob Hale is collaborating with avian experts from around Chesapeake Bay to determine the exposure of osprey to new and traditional environmental contaminants

Research questions environmental safety of flame retardant
A study by VIMS graduate student researcher Mark La Guardia provides new evidence of the release and environmental accumulation of a common flame-retardant chemical. His findings come in light of a voluntary decision by the main U.S. manufacturer to discontinue production of two other closely related flame retardants.

TBT or not TBT: Collaborators Search for a Solution to Pollution
VIMS researcher Dr. Mike Unger and colleagues at ODU are developing a mobile treatment plant to keep the  toxic compound TBT from entering seawater.

VIMS environmental scientists spearhead PBDE research in USA
Dr. Rob Hale and colleagues lead the nation in studies of the source, fate, and effects of polybrominated flame retardants (PBDEs) in the environment.

VIMS scientists explore pollution of Antarctic sea ice
VIMS researchers investigate the role that sea ice plays in injecting “persistent organic pollutants,” or POPs, into polar food webs.

Researchers discover new pollutants infiltrating Virginia rivers
Prof. Rob Hale discovers that PBDEs are dispersed thoughout the Roanoke and Dan rivers in southeastern Virginia.