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Plastic

This category contains 35 posts

‘Out of Sight’ Can’t Mean ‘Out of Mind’

Surface marine debris and microplastic pollution has received more attention recently—which is great—but there’s another garbage problem we are only starting to understand. Deep in the dark, discarded items litter the sea floor, like dust-bunnies swept along by currents and are collecting at rates previously underestimated. Click here to read more! Andrea SchlunkI am a […]

Examples_of_different_types_of_microplastics

Plastics and Colors and Fish, Oh My!

Have you ever wondered what happens to the garbage that ends up in the ocean? Or about what just might eat this garbage thinking it might have been food? That what the scientists in this study looked at in Brazil. These scientists looked at the gut contents of several fish to see what they ate. […]

The plight of the mangrove

Celine E.J. van Bijsterveldt, Bregje K. van Wesenbeeck, Sri Ramadhani, Olivier V. Raven, Fleur E. van Gool, Rudhi Pribadi, Tjeerd J. Bouma, Does plastic waste kill mangroves? A field experiment to assess the impact of macro plastics on mangrove growth, stress response and survival, Science of The Total Environment, 2020, 143826, ISSN 0048-9697, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143826.   […]

Don’t get ~tide~ down: Are biodegradable nets a good solution to the ghost fishing problem?

Biodegradable nets are a potential solution to the ghost fishing problem-or the phenomenon of lost fishing nets still catching animals. However, are they as efficient as conventional plastic polymer nets? Hannah CollinsI’m a second year Masters student in Oceanography at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point. My current research interests involve microplastics and their effects […]

Can Pacific Oysters handle a bit of microplastics in the lab? Shuck yeah!

Filter feeding animals like oysters can be exposed to small plastic particles, called microplastics, as they filter food out of the water. In this study microplastics apparently had no health effects on oysters, but is that the whole story? Hannah CollinsI’m a second year Masters student in Oceanography at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point. […]

Microplastics, Canned Fish, and You: How plastic pollution may play a role in your next lunch

Did you know that many plastic items can shed tiny particles called microplastics? These microplastics are present everywhere in our environment, from the sea to the air. But how prevalent are they, and do they pose harm to humans? Researchers attempted to answer this question by studying a common food item – canned fish. Francesca […]

Life in Plastic: 14 Million Tonnes of Microplastics Likely on Sea Floor

The deep-sea floor has always fascinated scientists and ocean lovers alike with its mystery and wonder. For the first time ever, scientists have estimated the amount of human-made plastics on the seafloor, and it will shock you. Elena GadoutsisI have always been happiest in nature – exploring forests, traveling to the ocean, or working with […]

Ocean plastic pollution damages bacteria that help us breathe

Every minute, we are dumping a garbage truckload of plastic litter into the ocean. Plastic pollution in the ocean are threatening not only millions of marine animals (whales, sharks, turtles and birds), but also marine plants. Toxic materials from plastic are affecting the ability of marine plants to produce oxygen that we breath. Jiwoon ParkI […]

SURFO Special: Scouting out marine plastics on the shores of Guam

Plethora of plastic pollution! Every year, large amounts of plastic are being deposited into our oceans as a direct result of human activities. It is up to us to understand what drive marine plastic with the hope to reduce waste in our waters. Katherine BarrettKate received her Ph.D. in Aquatic Ecology from the University of […]

Is There Plastic in Paradise?

Tropical islands like the Maldives have always been viewed as untouched paradises for most people, but what lies beneath the crystal-clear waters? For the first time, scientists examine the island of Naifaru, Maldives in search of tiny bits of plastic, known as microplastics. Elena GadoutsisI have always been happiest in nature – exploring forests, traveling […]

Menacing microplastics hamper hermit crab choices

How can little bits of plastic in the ocean impact a hermit crab’s ability to make decisions? Microplastics can be found from the deep sea to the coasts and they can affect everything from animal health to cognition. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying marine mammal communication. My research focuses on […]

Is our plastic dependence accelerating climate change?

  Reference: Royer, Sarah-Jeanne, Sara Ferrón, Samuel T. Wilson, David M. Karl. “Production of methane and ethylene from plastic in the environment.” PloS One 13, e0200574 (2018). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200574 Plastic? What’s the big deal? Since the 1950’s, over 6 billion tons of plastic have been produced globally. Less than 10% of plastic is recycled, and […]

You are what you eat: Microplastics travel from food to the brain

Oceans are full of microplastics. These tiny plastic particles end up in the stomach of marine animals. Now, scientists have discovered that microplastics can travel from the stomach of velvet swimming crabs to other organs – including the brain. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the […]

Sunlight May Stimulate Breakdown of Ocean Plastic

A new study suggests that one form of plastic might not take as long to break down in the ocean as previously thought. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some […]

Traces of human plastic pollution in ocean sediment

Is the plastic we produce being stored in our oceans’ sediments? To answer this question scientists studied a sediment core from the Santa Barbara basin dating back to 1836. Samantha SettaI’m a PhD student in the Rynearson Lab at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). My research interests are focused […]

Giant Clams vs. Small Plastics

Microplastics are found all throughout our oceans. But in the Red Sea, there are a lot less. Find out how giant clams could be a culprit for getting rid of small plastics. Arossa, S., Martin, C., Rossbach, S., & Duarte, C. M. (2019). Microplastic removal by red sea giant clam (Tridacna maxima). Environmental Pollution. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2019.05.149 We use […]

A boon to ocean conservation? Certain fungi can degrade marine plastics

Brunner I, Fischer M, Ru ̈thi J, Stierli B, Frey B (2018) Ability of fungi isolated from plastic debris floating in the shoreline of a lake to degrade plastics. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202047. About a year ago, I decided to make a move towards reducing my plastic consumption. Working in environmental conservation leaves you with […]

There’s plastic in your tap water, beer, and table salt

Kosuth M, Mason SA, Wattenberg EV (2018) Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0194970. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194970 You’ve seen it; plastic bottles discarded on the beach, photos of marine life starved on a diet of plastic straws, shopping bags adrift in a flotilla of single-use refuse. Plastic changed the world when […]

Turtles in the Trash: How microplastics are washing up where turtles breed

Like plastic bags and other larger plastic pieces, these insidious micro particles can make their way into animal digestive tracts and pollute the places they live. This pollution is what concerns Doctors Beckwith and Fuentes, from Florida State University. If microplastics are spreading through the ocean, what does this mean for the future of sea […]

Important oyster-producing region of British Columbia swamped with microplastics

  If you grew up in the developed world, chances are you have an intimate relationship with plastic. Your lunch container, your childhood toys, your coffee press, that sweater you just bought, and the packaging it came in – they’re all made of low-cost petrochemical derivatives. And they’re swamping our oceans in a pollutant the […]

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