photo: Brian Snelson via flickr.
Proponents of geoengineering though ocean iron fertilization will tell you that the procedure just mimics natural processes that occur all the time and they're right to do so. Compared to other proposals, the procedure isn't on the totally crazy end of the spectrum--despite evidence that it may not be as effective as hoped for. But new research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that there are significant potential risks to both birds and marine life that haven't been examined enough.The research shows that the increases in algae from the genus Pseudonitzschia can lead to an increase in domoic acid. This toxin can require the suspension of shellfishing, can cause deaths in sea lions and according to the BBC was behind a 1961 incident in Capitola, California which was behind Alfred Hitchcock's vision for The Birds.
Which sounds pretty bad, but what's more concerning is that only two of the research projects investigating ocean iron fertilization have even bothered to measure domoic acid production. Those that did measure it found that domoic acid was enhanced by increased iron and to a degree sufficient to cause poisoning of mammals in coastal waters.
Read more: BBC News
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