Visualizing Microbial Seascapes

Monograph Project


Toxins: Culprits, Accomplices, Victims

Since its birth, the earth has been continuously changing. At the hands of the life that it hosts, it has been terraformed many times over. From the collective inhabiting of small and large organisms alike, it has carried on a slow, repeated temperature cycle from icy cold to scorching hot. However, one of the most recent dominant life forms have changed the game; it’s influence over most life on earth is changing the physical composition of this planet with a speed not seen before. While preying on other organisms, humans may well be creating the tool of their own destruction. Are we a culprit or a victim?

As humans industrialized during the Industrial Revolution, each advancement has had a negative impact on the environment. Now with the short-circuiting of the carbon cycle, excess carbon dioxide floats in the atmosphere. The excess greenhouse gas is absorbed into the ocean, causing ocean acidification and disrupting natural ecosystems. Another factor in this phenomena is the idea of eutrophication, which is caused by excess nutrients and the decrease in oxygen availability due to algal blooms. Eutrophication describes an overabundance of nutrients that causes an excess of algal growth, which in turn leads to hypoxia and “dead zones” due to the lack of oxygen availability. The current problem of eutrophication causes key primary producers to now poison the environment they inhabit. This outlines the theme that as key producers of the food chain overpopulate, they in turn transform into a toxin that take the role of a culprit, as their predators become the victims; just as humans are today.

The question stands: How do materials in excess affect a population as a whole? This category describes relationships between toxins and their toxicities.

Akashiwo sanguinea

Common name: Akashiwo Sanguinea

Tiarina fusus



  Common Name: Tintinnid


Common Name: Tintinnid  By Amber Vidal 

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