Plastic pollution in the world ocean
The human imprint of plastic pollution is now evident in all marine ecosystems. Scientists have documented plastics everywhere from white sand beaches and colorful coral reefs to the deepest, darkest trenches of the ocean. Plastic in the ocean imposes physical hazards to marine animals that eat or get tangled in it. Ocean plastic pollution presents a chemical hazard to the marine animals that ingest it. This toxic load includes both the synthetic ingredients in the plastic itself, and the contaminants that adhere to the plastic from the surrounding
Recent MBARI research has included a look at how plastic moves through the ocean food web, and how microplastics are ingested by larvaceans, which in turn excrete the pellets, sending them toward the seafloor. An MBARI team also did a comprehensive review of 22-years-worth of video from the deep sea to shed light on the distribution of marine debris in and around Monterey Canyon.
MBARI news about plastic pollution
Fight against plastic pollution targets a hidden source: Our clothes, NBC News Digital, May 5, 2019
The rise in ocean plastics evidenced from a 60-year time series, Nature Communications, April 16, 2019
Balloons the number 1 marine debris risk of mortality for seabirds, Science Daily, March 3, 2019
Microplastics research—from sink to source, Science, April 6, 2018.
Plastic waste associated with disease on coral reefs, Science, January 26, 2018
Exceptional and rapid accumulation of anthropogenic debris on one of the world’s most remote and pristine islands, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 6, 2017
Human footprint in the abyss: 30 year records of deep-sea plastic debris, Science Direct, April 6, 2018
Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean, Science, February 13, 2015
VIDEO: Microplastics in the ocean
“We’re working to understand the transport and cycling of plastics through ocean food webs, and what this might mean for humans.””