Ecosystem Found in Great Pacific Garbage Patch
In 2019, the French swimmer Benoit Lecomte swam over 300 nautical miles through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to raise awareness about marine plastic pollution. As he swam, he was often surprised to find that he wasn’t alone, reports The New York Times. "Every time I saw plastic debris floating, there was life all around it," Mr. Lecomte said.
According to The Times, the patch was less a garbage island than a garbage soup of plastic bottles, fishing nets, tires and toothbrushes. And floating at its surface were blue dragon nudibranchs, Portuguese man-o-wars, and other small surface-dwelling animals, which are collectively known as neuston.
The Ocean’s Biggest Garbage Pile Is Full of Floating Life (The New York Times)
NBC News writes that scientists documented more than 40 coastal species clinging to plastic trash, including mussels, barnacles and shrimp-like amphipods. Coastal marine species carried out to sea on debris are not only surviving, they’re colonizing the high seas and making new communities on the floating plastic detritus that make up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
On the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, scientists find a surprise: Coastal life (NBC News)
Many of Lecomte’s findings were captured and examined by researchers from multiple universities around the world in a yet-to-be-peer-reviewed paper published Friday, and co-author Rebecca Helm of the University of North Carolina posted a lengthy tweet thread explaining the study in detail, according to Futurism.
Hooray! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Has Become a Thriving Ecosystem, Scientists Say (Futurism)
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