Miriam C. Goldstein, Henry S. Carson, Marcus Eriksen
Relationship of diversity and habitat area in North Pacific
plastic-associated rafting communities
Marine Biology
April 2014
DOI 10.1007/s00227-014-2432-8

Plastic and other anthropogenic debris (e.g., rubber, tar) augment natural floating substrates (e.g., algal rafts, pumice) in the open ocean, allowing “islands” of substrate-associated organisms to persist in an otherwise unsuitable habitat.

We examined a total of 242 debris objects collected in the eastern Pacific in 2009 and 2011 (32–39°N, 130–142°W) and the western Pacific in 2012 (19–41°N, 143–156°E).

Here, we ask: (a) What taxa are associated with plastic rafts in the North
Pacific? and (b) Does the number of taxa associated with plastic debris vary with the size of the debris “island?”

We documented 95 rafting taxa from 11 phyla.

We identified several potentially invasive plastic-associated rafting taxa, including the coral pathogen Halofolliculina spp. In concordance with classic species–area curves,  the number of rafting taxa was positively correlated with the size of the raft. Our findings suggest that diversity patterns on plastic debris are compatible with the concept of island biogeography.

227_2014_2432_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (304KB)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 304 kb)

227_2014_2432_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (69KB)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 69 kb)

BLOG STATS As of 01.29.2017 onward have been counting the number people who have read each post. WHY CUT PLASTIC About 100 million tons of plastic are produced each year and much of it is used to make one-use, disposable items. Because plastic doesn't biodegrade these items, though only used for moments can last for decades, centuries, possibly forever. We are creating ever lasting rubbish in unsustainable amounts. It is polluting the environment, maiming even killing animals, poisoning fish and may be poisoning us.