While on a research trip to Puerto Rico, ecologist James Porter made an unexpected yet groundbreaking find. Porter had been taking samples from the USS Killen, an underwater nuclear bomb target, expecting to find evidence of radioactive matter. But what he found proved to be much more than he had originally anticipated as the samples provided an unexpected link to cancer. Data revealed that the closer corals and marine life were to unexploded bombs from the World War II vessel and the surrounding target range, the higher the rates of carcinogenic materials.
“Unexploded bombs are in the ocean for a variety of reasons – some were duds that did not explode, others were dumped in the ocean as a means of disposal,” said Porter. “And we now know that these munitions are leaking cancer-causing materials and endangering sea life.”
To learn more about this exciting discovery, please visit UGA’s Odum School of Ecology’s website at: