Hundreds of sea turtles found dead near El Salvador

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Why did hundreds of sea turtles perish near El Salvador ? The country’s ministry of environment and natural resources found 300-400 dead turtles in Jiquilisco Bay, so they took samples to try and determine why the animals died. National Geographic floated fishing and algal blooms as two reasons for the sea turtle die-offs. Around 300 to 400 sea turtles died near El Salvador, according to MARN . Locals began seeing the turtles the end of October; MARN announced the die-off on Twitter in early November. Several turtle species reside in the area, but so far it looks like ridleys have been the species most hit. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies ridleys as vulnerable. Related: Unusually high number of humpback whale deaths prompts NOAA inquiry A red tide , or harmful algal bloom, led to turtle deaths in El Salvador in 2006 and 2013. Turtles can die after ingesting the blooms. But it’s not yet clear if a red tide caused these deaths. On November 3, MARN said they collected samples from seawater and the turtles’ tissues, and also took blood samples from a living turtle. The fishing industry has been to blame for turtle deaths in the past during shrimp trawling, as turtles can get caught in the nets. But a month-long moratorium began October 17, so the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative ‘s Mike Liles said fishing probably didn’t cause the 300 to 400 turtles to perish. Liles did say the practice is still dangerous for the creatures. This recent event is one of the biggest turtle die-offs El Salvador has experienced. Liles said large-scale die-offs could just get more common as industrial agriculture runoff worsens red tides. Conservation Ecology Lab ecologist Alexander Gaos agreed and said more conservation programs are needed. Via National Geographic Images via MARN El Salvador on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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Hundreds of sea turtles found dead near El Salvador

This tiny device can scan for skin cancer at a fraction of the current cost

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

sKan is an inexpensive device that can detect skin cancer at its early stages. The device creates heat maps to identify abnormalities in the skin often associated with melanoma, treatment for which has a higher success rate if detected early. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, accounting for roughly 1 in 3 cancer diagnoses, and results in tens of thousands of deaths each year. sKan won this year’s international James Dyson award, bringing with it new funding and attention that could help save countless lives. To achieve its goal, the sKan device exploits the relatively higher metabolic rate of cancer cells. After a period of cooling, skin affected by cancer cells will more rapidly warm up, due to cancer’s high metabolism, than non-cancerous skin cells. sKan uses inexpensive yet accurate temperature sensors to locate rapidly heating areas of skin, shining a spotlight on potentially cancerous cells. These results are then displayed on a heat map, which can be used by a medical professional to determine whether a patient may require additional care. Early detection may mean life or death for those with skin cancer; the estimated 5-year survival rate for skin cancer patients whose illness is detected early is 98 percent. Related: Stanford’s new ‘accelerator on a chip’ could revolutionize medical care “By using widely available and inexpensive components, the sKan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many,” said James Dyson, British inventor and industrial designer . “It’s a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world. This is why I have selected it at this year’s international winner.” In addition to the honor of winning the James Dyson award, the sKan team will receive $40,000, which it plans to use to refine the device’s design to meet US Food and Drug Administration standards . “We are truly humbled and excited to be given this remarkable opportunity,” said the sKan team on its win. Via New Atlas Images via James Dyson Awards

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This tiny device can scan for skin cancer at a fraction of the current cost

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