James W. Porter, associate dean of the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, will present details of his research on the effects of unexploded ordnance in the waters around Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico, in two talks to be held during the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Porter’s first presentation, “Movement of toxic materials through the Vieques marine ecosystem: The effects of naval bombardment on a Puerto Rican coral reef,” is part of a roundtable discussion on coastal contamination to be held on Feb. 14 from 12 – 1 p.m. in Ballroom B of the Puerto Rico Convention Center, 100 Convention Boulevard, San Juan, PR 00907.
On Feb. 15 from 12 – 1 p.m., Porter will deliver a lecture titled “The Ecology of War: Vieques, Human Rights, and the Concept of a Just War,” also in Ballroom B.
In 2003, in the waters around Puerto Rico, researchers discovered the impact of unexploded ordnance on the eastern end of Isla de Vieques, a naval gunnery and bombing range since 1943. Some areas of Vieques were declared a Superfund Site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2005, but to date none of these underwater areas have been cleared of their unexploded ordnance. After conducting biological, radiological, and chemical surveys to learn about the health of the reefs, Porter and James Barton, of Underwater Ordnance Removal, Inc., found that reefs with the highest concentrations of bombs and bomb fragments have the lowest indices of coral reef health. All animals close to leaking bombs tested positive for contamination. While commercially edible creatures such as fish and lobster were within Environmental Protection Agency standards of safe consumption, several marine species tested have very high concentrations of known carcinogens.
For more information on Porter, see http://www.ecology.uga.edu/facultyMember.php?Porter-32/.