Eco-news in brief 8-21
By CG News Editor April Jaynes
Ohio University students develop collaborative shale database
Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs recently created a database that links shale gas drillers with Ohio companies that provide supplies and services. Students developed this database with a $100,000 rural business enterprise grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The database includes more than 700 companies, with more than half of these companies located in 12 Eastern and Southeastern counties, stretching from Athens County to Tuscarawas and Jefferson Counties. Companies can join the database by filling out a survey to create a profile. In hopes of expanding the database statewide, Voinovich School is in the process of forming a partnership with the Ohio Shale Coalition.
Student discovers 8 new species of sharks
Paul Clerkin, a shark ecology graduate at California’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, took a two-month fishing expedition last March on the Indian Ocean in search of new shark species. Out of the 350 sharks caught, Clerkin uncovered 8 new species of sharks. The sharks were caught about 6,500 feet deep into the ocean as bycatch and have odd features such as distorted snouts and emerging spines. The largest shark caught was a false catshark, a known but rare species. Clerkin is sending off genetic samples for comparison and is taking between 80 and 90 different measurements from each shark. If the sharks prove to be new species, Clerkin will be able to name them.
Butterfly mutations due to radiation
Last year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused radiation to leak from the Fukushima nuclear plant, resulting in butterfly mutations. The mutations included dented eyes and stunted wings in a common species of pale grass blue butterflies found near the plant. The butterfly research was published in Science Reports in early August. Researchers say humans appear to be relatively unaffected, and further study is needed to link human health to the radiation leak from the Fukushima plant.The butterfly mutations are the first evidence that the radiation leak caused mutations in living organisms.