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Microplastics may be killing teeny, tiny beasties. Particles of plastic of 20 microns in diameter (a width thinner than a human hair) called micro plastics and are being found in the oceans in ever-increasing quantities.

College of the Atlantic senior Marina Garland has been studying the problem.

“According to Garland, lab studies have been conducted indicating that aquatic microorganisms such as plankton can also mistake micro plastic particles for food and subsequently be killed by the adverse effects of the particle on the organism’s digestive tract. Additionally, said Garland, various toxins are known to cling to plastic particles through a process known as adsorption. As a result, plastic flotsam collected from oceans is often a concentrated source for such toxic chemicals as the pesticide DDT. Microorganisms that ingest the toxic plastic particles are often consumed by larger organisms, which then become toxic themselves. The concentration of toxicity in marine organisms continues to increase at the higher levels of the food chain through a process known as biomagnification.”

You can see her presentation here

Find out more about micro plastics here

Image of plankton from Pinterest

 

 

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