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Image courtesy of Alexandra Lindstrom  

A lifetime could be spent in admiration of the Long Island Sound. There is something about the way that the waves continue to kiss the sand after each time the shore sends it away. There is beauty in the estuaries where new life is nurtured and the in sunrises that paint the sky.

Beneath the façade of tranquility, evidence of the Anthropocene has manifested in the water. As if birthed from the mind of the a science fiction author, islands of trash swirl in the sea and anoxic waters suffocate marine life. However, the most peculiar and surprising phenomenon is the presence of intersex fish.

Recent findings conclude that fish are suffering nothing short of an identity crisis, as males are turning into females, due to the chemical pollution of estrogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EEDCs). Spanning from Maine to Virginia, including the Long Island Sound. Researchers have discovered this intersex trait among 27 percent of large mouth bass and 85 percent smallmouth bass. The male fish that were studied were found to have female egg cells present in their testis.

Effluent discharge into various bodies of waters is deemed the primary culprit for the upset of gender. Although some EEDCs are naturally occurring, the main offenders are of anthropogenic cause. These chemicals harbor the capacity to alter the hormone system of fish, cause reproductive failure, and induce population decline.

The existence of this phenomenon holds portent for the future of some species. It raises the question if amphibians, birds, or even humans will also feel the consequences of EEDCs. The outcome Anthropocene continues to reverberate in all facets of our world, and so we will continue to wonder if the waters of Long Island will remain safe and sound.

 

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