Israeli researchers measure sea pollution using tiny sea creatures

2021-01-11 17:35:57 GMT2021-01-12 01:35:57(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

JERUSALEM, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have found that marine industrial pollution can be measured using the shells of unicellular marine organisms, Ben Gurion University (BGU) in southern Israel said on Monday.

BGU researchers, in collaboration with the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research national institution, have found that these shells can be cheap, accurate and effective means of measuring pollution near shores.

Moreover, they found that these marine organisms would even make it possible to pre-identify pollution hazards.

Today's common measurements indicate seawater pollution only at the time of the test, while the new method solves the problem using the marine microorganisms called foraminifera.

Throughout their lives, foraminifera produce a shell made of the mineral calcite, which absorbs chemical elements from the water, such as heavy metals from coastal industries.

Geochemical measurements of the shells allow to examine the level of pollution in the water and even monitor very low levels of pollution as an initial warning sign.

In addition, measurements of the various parts of the conch reveal the levels of pollution throughout the existence of the shell, which serves "recording device" of pollution over the years.

"Foraminifera makes it possible to discover the industrial footprint of coastal facilities, including areas considered clean nature reserves, and to prevent pollution of beaches," the researchers concluded. Enditem