Public Release: 

Our effect on the world

Presentations to explore the impacts of human activities on ecosystems

Ecological Society of America

Contaminants in aquatic systems: Individual effects and community consequences

In the waters around Puerto Rico, researchers have discovered the impact of unexploded ordnance on the eastern end of Isla de Vieques, a naval gunnery and bombing range since 1943. After conducting biological, radiological, and chemical surveys to learn about the health of the reefs, James Porter and Cecilia Torres (Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, US) found reefs with the highest concentrations of bombs and bomb fragments to have the lowest health indices. According to Porter and Torres, all animals close to leaking bombs tested positive for contamination, and while commercially edible creatures such as fish and lobster were within US Environmental Protection Agency standards of safe consumption levels, several marine species tested have very high concentrations of known carcinogens. The team has invented and will show videos of a device that picks up bombs underwater and removes them non-destructively from the reef. They will present more details in their pr! esentation, "Movement of toxic materials through the Vieques marine ecosystem: the effects of naval bombardment on a Puerto Rican coral reef," during an organized oral session on contaminants in aquatic systems.

Monday 8 August, 1:30 - 5:00 PM, Meeting Room 510 B, Level 5, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Ecological aftermath of the Balkan Conflict

In addition to other tolls, the Balkan conflict also heavily impacted the environment. Two years into a three year study, Mirjana Vojinovc-Miloradov (University of Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro), will present results of a study measuring the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) released during the Balkan conflict in Sebia in the spring of 1999. In the talk, "Ecological state of selected urban locations in Serbia after the Balkan conflict," Vojinivc-Miloradov will discuss the PCP contamination levels in soil, sediment, air, and frog livers.

Thursday 11 August, 8:00 - 11:30 AM, Meeting Room 511 A, Level 5, Palais des congrès de Montréal

Biodiversity: Soils and Seeds

Acid deposition, in the form of rain, fog and snow, has led to declines in the diversity and abundance of birds throughout Europe. In North America, such declines have not been observed, although more recent studies have begun to link acid rain and the reduced abundance of some bird species. Ralph Hames and James Lowe (Cornell University, US) will report the results of a study of avian biodiversity at 40 sites across New York in their talk, "Linking acid rain, soil properties, and avian biodiversity in four regions of New York." Hames and Lowe studied the number and biomass of birds, as well as the number of calcium-rich invertebrates, along with soil samples, to determine if a link exists between the acidity levels of the soil and avian populations. The presentation is part of the organized oral session "Biodiversity: soils and seeds."

Friday 12 August, 8:00 - 11:30 AM, Meeting Room 513 E, Level 5, Palais des congrès de Montréal

For more information about these presentations and other ESA-INTECOL Meeting activities, visit: The theme of the meeting is "Ecology at multiple scales," and some 4,000 scientists are expected to attend.


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