Photo: Urchin Spikes via Alberni Aquarium

A Shellfish Study to Raise Awareness of Sea Pollution

When we think about pollution of our seas, we often discuss plastic and oil and their affects on marine life. However, more recently, the affects of our drugs - from painkillers to antidepressants - are proving to have a significant impact on the ecosystem below.

Scientists have been drawn to study unassuming shellfish and the patterns of their growth and reproduction, due to their stationary positions at the bottom of the seabed. Their findings show that everyday substances such as antibiotics from soaps, oestrogen mimics in birth control and the chemicals in painkillers are having adverse affects - stunting growth and damaging reproductive capabilities. Many government regulators only focus on the pharmaceutical implications on marine life if it is lethal to them, and so a greater awareness of the impact of these substances in our water is vital, and this research is the first step in the right direction.

We hope that positive innovative design solutions to eliminate the unseen substances from the flow of our water systems will be developed from this underwater investigation.