(Credit: Dr. Kathryn Berry) Our plastic lifestyle is killing coral reefs. A first-of-its-kind study published on Thursday found that an estimated 11.1 billion pieces of ocean plastic trash are lodged in coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific region, increasing corals’ susceptibility to potentially deadly diseases by as much as 89 percent. (From Oceans Deeply/ By Todd Woody) -- Scientists [...]
An experiment featuring the largest flotilla of sensors ever deployed in a single area provides new insights into how marine debris, or flotsam, moves on the surface of the ocean. (From Science Daily) -- The experiment conducted in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill placed hundreds of drifting [...]
(Credit: Olive Ridley Project) Hundreds of marine turtles die every year after becoming entangled in rubbish in the oceans and on beaches, including plastic ‘six pack’ holders and discarded fishing gear. The rise in plastic refuse in the ocean and on beaches is killing turtles of all species, with a disproportionate impact on [...]
A concept image of the REV. (Credit: Nina Jensen) In February, construction will begin on a research and expedition vessel like no other. Nina Jensen, the new chief executive of the company behind the ship, hopes that it will be a “floating think tank” that will change the conversation about ocean health. (From [...]
A team of researchers form the University of Warwick has devised a new way to identify what is known as the "lost 99%" of plastic particles in the world's oceans.
The world uses 1 billion unrecyclable plastic straws a day – 500 million in the United States – an untold number of which end up in the ocean, polluting the water and coastlines and posing a deadly threat to sea turtles and other marine animals. The Lonely Whale Foundation’s “Strawless in Seattle” campaign resulted in the elimination of 2.3 million disposable plastic straws in the month of September in that city.
Sea turtles spot plastic bags and mistake them for jellyfish. Birds get entwined in plastic and choke to death. Corals, it turns out, could be even worse off—to them, some of the chemicals in plastic might taste like food.
Sarah Dudas doesn't mind shucking an oyster or a clam in the name of science. But sit down with her and a plate of oysters on the half-shell or a bucket of steamed Manila clams, and she'll probably point out a bivalve's gonads or remark on its fertility. "These are comments I make at dinner parties," she said. "I've spent too much time doing dissections. I've done too many spawnings." And lately, the shellfish biologist is making other unappetizing comments to her dinner party guests — about plastics in those shellfish.
An FAO study finds that more than 100 commercial seafood species ingest microplastic, which can be contaminated with toxins. More worrying are the unknown health effects of even smaller nanoplastics. There’s an estimated 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, most of it broken up into bits smaller than the nail on your pinkie finger. Marine animals eat this plastic when they mistake it for fish eggs, plankton and algae.
Anchovies are known more as a pickled pizza topping than for their crucial place in the marine food chain. Now scientists have confirmed a disturbing new behavior by these tiny forage fish that could have larger implications for human health: anchovies are eating tiny pieces of ocean plastic, and because they, in turn, are eaten by larger fish, the toxins in those microplastics could be transferred to fish consumed by humans.
EACH YEAR, THE world throws 8 billion metric tons of plastic into the ocean, about a dump truck every minute. Some washes up on beaches, some sinks, and the rest floats to the surface, where currents sweep it into giant rafts of garbage. Over time, chopping waves and beating sunlight break those plastics down into microscopic particles—which conservation groups worry pose a real threat to marine life and the people who eat it.