Scientists analyzing kelp off the coast of San Diego have linked the presence of the radioactive isotope cesium to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, in Japan, which melted down in 2011. As part of the ongoing Kelp Watch 2014 project, government and academic institutions have begun receiving results from samples of bull kelp and giant kelp collected along the California coast.
“We’re trying to figure out how much is there and how much is getting into the ecosystem,” says Matthew Edwards, Ph.D., of San Diego State University. “Things are linked a little more closely than sometimes we’d like to think. Just because it’s on the other side of the world doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect us.” With experts predicting a 40-year-plus cleanup at Fukushima, the likelihood of increased cesium in the Pacific Ocean seems inevitable.
For more information, visit KelpWatch.Berkeley.edu.