Briefly

    Neurotoxin discovered in San Diego seawater

    Researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography have recently documented the presence of a neurotoxin in the San Diego seawater that is poisonous to marine mammals, birds and humans who consume shellfish.

    In the past few years, increasing numbers of sea lions have been found sick or dead on San Diego beaches. Researchers found that many were poisoned by neurotoxin domoic acid, produced by marine phytoplankton. Production of domoic acid has in the past only been documented in waters further north of San Diego.

    Scripps researchers Lilian Busse and Elizabeth Venrick found moderate levels of domoic acid in the phytoplankton from seawater samples collected on Feb. 18 and Feb. 25 off Scripps Pier. Produced by a genus of diatoms called pseudonitzschia, the presence of the toxins coincided with a late February bloom of pseudonitzschia australis and is considered to be related to sea lions from Malibu Beach being stranded in San Diego.

    Researchers said that public health risks in San Diego are low despite the presence of the neurotoxin. According to studies, the amount of domoic acid in mussel tissue was found to be within state safety guidelines.

    Researchers are currently starting a multi-institutional monitoring project that takes weekly samplings of local water and mussels. The project tests San Diego waters in order to characterize large blooms of pseudonitzschia and other types of phytoplankton.

    Students will hold ‘Stop the Cuts’ protest rally April 15

    On April 15, tax day, the Coalition to Stop the Cuts will hold a rally and march in protest of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts and “tax on education.” The rally will begin at noon in front of Geisel Library, with the march beginning at 12:30 p.m.

    The rally is part of a statewide week of action in which groups on college campuses are denouncing the negative effects that could come of cuts to the state’s higher education system.

    The rally will include student speakers and the march will proceed from Geisel to the Office of the Registrar, where a letter to the admissions office, the chancellor, the UC Board of Regents and Schwarzenegger will be presented.

    The Coalition to Stop the Cuts includes members of Associated Students, Graduate Student Association, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Azatlan, University Council-American Federation of Teachers, California Student Public Interest Research Group, Students for Economic Justice, Associated Student Employees-United Auto Workers Local 2865, the International Socialist Organization, and others.

    UC President Emeritus Atkinson to speak on SATs

    UC President Emeritus Richard C. Atkinson will discuss the history of college admissions testing and will explain the changes to the Scholastic Aptitude Test that will be included in the fall 2006 test of the SAT, during a talk on April 28 at Mandeville Auditorium.

    In 2001, Atkinson delivery a speech to the American Council of Education, proposing that universities change the way student applications are evaluated during admission processes. Atkinson recommended eliminating the SAT and replacing it with a new test that measures what students learn in high school. The test he proposed would include an essay section.

    Atkinson has been a vocal critic of the SAT and other forms of IQ testing. He served in the National Academy of Sciences as chair of the Board on Testing and Assessment, a group that advises the federal government on testing issues. Atkinson has researched testing and concluded that the current SAT is a flawed test and could negatively impact students applying to college.

    The talk will be hosted by the UCSD Center for the Humanities and is free and open to the public.

    Plaza On The Side opens for weekend nights

    Plaza On The Side in Revelle College is now open Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to midnight. P.O.T.S. was formerly open only Sunday through Thursday nights.

    P.O.T.S., which accepts meal points and Triton Plus, extended its hours after the Revelle College Assembly and the Revelle resident deans found that extended hours of operation would be particularly helpful during finals week.

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