Toxic red tides pose a serious threat to marine life. One in Florida (not pictured) has led to a declared state of emergency. (Photo: Alejandro Díaz/Wikimedia Commons)
Our weekly digest compiles stories and news, both from here at Penn and around the world, that highlight the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health.
By Jacob Williamson-Rea
Florida declares a state of emergency as red tide kills animals and disrupts tourism
The Washington Post, August 14, 2018
Red tide, a bloom of toxic algae, has suffocated marine life and shut down local tourism in southwest Florida. Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency.
The ‘zombie gene’ that may protect elephants from cancer
The New York Times, Aug. 14, 2018
Theoretically, large animals should get cancer more frequently than smaller animals because they have more cells, which increases the chance of cell mutation. Elephants, however, have a special gene that can attack potentially cancerous cells, according to a recent study.
Palm oil: A new threat to Africa’s monkeys and apes?
BBC News, Aug. 14, 2018
Palm oil is used as a low-cost ingredient in many foods, cleaning products, and even cosmetics. As demand for such products increases, deforestation to expand oil palm tree acreage threatens native monkeys and apes in places like Indonesia and Malaysia.
A new pesticide may be as harmful to bees as the old one
Science, Aug. 15, 2018
The European Union and Canada have banned the use of several neonicotinoid pesticides, but the United States continues to use them. These pesticides have been found to have a detrimental effect on bee populations, even in low doses.
Not just land heat waves: Oceans are in hot water, too
Associated Press, Aug. 15, 2018
As summer heat waves cause droughts across the world, ocean temperatures have been spiking, too. This seriously threatens coral reefs, kelp forests, and marine life.
You don’t need to worry about Roundup in your breakfast cereal
Slate, Aug. 16, 2018
A new report from the Environmental Working Group states that glyphosate, a chemical found in Monsanto weed killer, may cause serious harm to those exposed to high concentrations. Glyphosate is found in trace amounts in popular breakfast cereals, but the amount is far below the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended threshold.