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2016 Annual Review: Effects of Pollutants on Marine Life

OCTOBER 6, 2017—“Scientific truth is built not on a single paper or experiment but on a constantly growing body of information that sometimes supports and sometimes negates a central theme.”

Man standing next to a man seated at a table.
Review lead author, Alan Mearns, and NOAA librarian, Brian Voss. Image credit: NOAA.

On October 1, the Water Environment Research Journal published an annual review of 2016 peer-reviewed papers on Effects of Pollutants on Marine Organisms authored by a team of scientists from NOAA HQ (LT. Rachel Pryor) and ERD (Nicolle Rutherford and Alan Mearns), EPA, and academic and industry scientists. Thousands of papers are published annually on the effects of pollutants on marine life. The review team, led by ERD Senior Scientist Alan Mearns, selected and provided reviews of 384 international papers covering effects of metals, radionuclides, pesticides, personal care products, oil and fuel toxicity, oil spill cases, spill treating agents (dispersants), marine debris, sewage and wastewater discharges, dredging and dumping, recreational and fishing impacts, noise pollution and other human-caused marine disturbances. Topics also included field and laboratory assessment methods (ranging from remote sensing to biomarker responses) and bioaccumulation, biomagnification and seafood contamination. Special topics included assessments of effects from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. This publication represents the 37th annual review authored or co-authored by one or more OR&R scientists. We thank NOAA Brian Voss (Seattle) and Clara Salazar (NMFS) for their assistance in recovering hard to get articles.

Copies of the open access review may be downloaded at

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