The Beacon

Ocean Roundup: New Coral Reef Species Discovered, Seals Found to Spread Tuberculosis 6,000 Years Ago, and More

A Juan Fernández Fur Seal (Arctocephalus philippii). A new study says that seals may have spread tuberculosis 6,000 years ago. (Photo: Oceana)

- Seals may just be the culprit in having spread tuberculosis from Africa to the New World 6,000 years ago. A new study found that seals contracted the disease when they crawled ashore on African beaches to raise their young, and then brought it to South America, where hunters became exposed. The New York Times

- Florida state inspectors say that dredging in the Port of Miami is having a “profound effect” on the seafloor. The dredging is churning up sediment, and in turn smothering coral reefs and damaging other sea life. Miami Herald

- New research shows that two common ingredients in sunscreen pose a bigger hazard to marine life than previously thought. When titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles wash off skin and into the water, they can react with ultraviolet rays and form compounds that are toxic to phytoplankton, which forms the basis of many food chains. Science Daily

- A new study found that seafood mislabeling in Chilean sea bass is particularly acute, and its exposing consumers to higher-than-average mercury levels. In this case, the mislabeling occurred by substituting Marine Stewardship Council certified Chilean sea bass with Chilean sea bass from another location that’s uncertified, and likely more contaminated. University of Hawaii Manoa

- Scientists recently discovered a new hard coral species, Pachyseris inattesa, in the Red Sea off Saudi Arabia. The discovery highlights that both Red Sea biodiversity and the number of hard coral reef species on a global scale are still just becoming understood. Science Daily

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