Humans having dramatic effect on wildlife

Dr Alex Ford

Dr Alex Ford

Just how astonishingly small the amount of pollution that’s needed to cause dramatic changes in aquatic life is the focus of a free public lecture at the University of Portsmouth next week.

Professor Alex Ford, whose research has shown time and again the powerful and sometimes shocking impact of prescription drugs passing through our bodies, into our sewers and seas, will discuss how aquatic parasites have both helped and hindered the search for scientific answers.

One of the bigger headline effects humans can inadvertently have on sea life is through taking drugs to fight depression which, when expelled in the urine, can change the sex of a crustacean.

Professor Ford said: “Very often people think of ‘pollution’ in a visual sense, for example, birds covered in oil, or floating dead fish, but environmental toxicologists look at very low concentrations of pollutants equivalent to just a few grains of sugar in an Olympic-sized swimming pool which can have a dramatic impact on wildlife, including from sex changes to behavioural changes.”

The lecture, The Pill to Prozac: pollution to parasites, is being held in the university’s Portland building, PO1 3AH, from 6-7pm on Wednesday, March 15. The lecture will be followed by a free drinks reception.

To find out more about some of the mysteries and the things we now know about how humans are changing the face of our wildlife, register to attend via Eventbrite:

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