Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Fish & Fires

For some reason I knew there would be an interesting tidbit for me to share in the NY Times today. Tuesday is my favorite day for reading the Times because of the Science section. An interesting study by Erin N. Kelly, a doctoral student in Alberta Canada, yielded some unexpected results. This project started out as an examination of how mercury in water, invertebrates and fish in the Canadian Rockies varies with elevation. It just so happens that a huge forest fire ablaze at the time created a new element for Ms. Kelly to study. She and her adviser came up with the idea that it might be interesting to see what happened with mercury concentrations in the lake. The findings? Well, the fire increased the concentration of mercury in rainbow trout fivefold. The culprit? Nitrogen and phosphorus ended up in the lake and increased the production of algae, which led to more young fish (primarily rainbow trout.) Adult fish began eating the younger fish which meant the amount of mercury in their diet went WAY up. "Its possible that forest fires could cause concentrations in fishes to go over consumption guidelines," Ms. Kelly said.
I don't know if you guys living in the bay area notice that the weather is a little bit TOO mild these days. Today I marveled at the fact that I needed no jacket as I emerged from the hair salon in San Francisco. Its a little scary. It seems that the average high temperature for December according to weather.com is 56 degrees. Today was 64 degrees and its the beginning of the month, so maybe this is normal and I just forget. Global climate change increases the number of forest fires. This could also ramp up the mercury levels in freshwater fish.
For SEAFOOD LOVERS, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium website as they have a guide to the east/west coasts safest fish.

No comments: