Segments in this Video

Micro-plastics and the Food Chain (03:40)


Micro beads are additives in shower products that travel through drains and into lakes, rivers, and oceans. They pollute the food chain through zooplankton and salmon.

Myriad of Side Effects (03:58)

Dr. Mark Browne fed mussels plastics and tracked how particles move through the invertebrate's bodies where they can remain for up to four months. Dr. Chelsea Rochman performed studies on fish to see how ingesting plastics affects them.

Reductions in Survival Rates (02:16)

In fish fed plastic mixtures, Rochman observed side effects including cell death in the liver and liver tumors as well as disruptions in reproductive processes. Important sediment-processing lug worms are also affected by plastics, and without them, other plants and animals cannot survive on shorelines.

Transferring Plastic to Humans (03:45)

Emma Johnston and Anja Taylor fish for bream and mullet in Sydney Harbor, fish commonly eaten by recreational fishers. Evidence of plastic fibers are found in the fish's guts.

Chemical Doses in Food Chain (03:42)

The plastics found in fish trace back to fleece clothing that shed polymers in washing machines. The polymers then escape through sewage treatment works and find their way into the ocean, eaten by plankton and fish until they end up in large concentrations in top predators.

Connected Fate (01:31)

A simple filter could be added to washing machines to prevent the plastics from finding their way into the ocean. Clothing and appliance companies have not been helpful when Browne's teams have reached out to them.

Putting Tasmania on a Map (02:49)

Before supercontinents Pangaea and Gondwana, there was Nuna, over a billion years prior to the evolution of land plants and dinosaurs. Geologists are studying Tasmania to understand where it fits into supercontinents of the past.

Zapping Zircon (03:59)

Geologists Jacob Mulder and Jacqueline Halpin use zircon crystals embedded in rocks to age them. The geochemical information they derive by assessing the zircon in the rock allows the geologists to date the rocks back to 1.5 billion years ago.

Changing Earth (02:07)

Tasmania is closer to America and Antarctica than it is to the rest of Australia. Because of plate tectonics, continents are dynamic and move and always will.

Credits: Micro-plastics / Tasmania Tectonics: Catalyst (00:26)

Credits: Micro-plastics / Tasmania Tectonics: Catalyst

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Micro-plastics / Tasmania Techtonics—Catalyst

Part of the Series : Catalyst
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
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Although microbeads from rinse off cosmetics have received a lot of attention lately, the tiny plastics most often being found in our seafood is a different kind of synthetic. We look into marine life in the US and Australia, to find out what plastics escape our household drains and what kind of damage they can do. Also, we always thought Tasmania was different, and now geology can explain why. New discoveries from Tasmania’s oldest rocks at Rocky Cape reveal that about 1.5 billion years ago Tasmania was not part of Australia, but wedged between two other continents. The geology of north-western Tasmania may have more to do with North America and Antarctica than it does with the rest of the Australian mainland.

Length: 29 minutes

Item#: BVL117860

ISBN: 978-1-63521-296-9

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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