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Biomagnification in Ocean Food Webs: You are What You Eat

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Transcript of Biomagnification in Ocean Food Webs: You are What You Eat

If an organism ingests something that is difficult to break down, it can build up in the organism or
Why do some substances bioaccumulate?
When an organism cannot break down a substance, it is not excreted -- it's stored in the organism
The classic example: DDT
It's all about the chemistry
Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Interactions
Biomagnification in Ocean Food Webs: You Are What You Eat
What causes this magnifying effect in organisms?
That polarity is why water dissolves lots of things!
Because of that polarity, water does NOT dissolve NONpolar things - like oils, fats, or waxy things.
Sometimes, that's good:
the ability to store essential nutrients like Vitamin D or fatty acids for times when we can't get enough is a good thing . . .
. . . but it's not such a good thing if we're talking about storing a potentially toxic substance.
It's all about the chemistry
What do plastics have to do with it?
How prevalent are these pellets?
How do we really know if all of this is actually happening?
A water molecule's electrons are unequally distributed between its hydrogen and oxygen atoms. This makes water a polar molecule.
Hydrophilic "water-loving"
dissolves easily in water
polar or ionic substance
does not tend to bioaccumulate
Hydrophobic "water-fearing"
does not dissolve in water
nonpolar - attracted to fats and oils
can bioaccumulate
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