Plastics and Plankton in Our Seas

Lindeque, PK, Botterell, ZLR, Coppock, RL and Cole, MJ 2021 Plastics and Plankton in Our Seas. Frontiers for Young Minds, 9.

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Plastic litter is found everywhere. Walk onto any beach around the world and you will almost certainly find plastic. The harm that large plastic litter can cause to marine animals is well-known; for example, you may have seen sad pictures of turtles eating plastic bags or seals tangled in discarded fishing nets. However, scientists are also concerned about microscopic-sized plastic that we do not normally see, and the problems these tiny plastic particles can cause to small marine animals called zooplankton. We focus on a group of zooplankton called copepods. These small-but-mighty crustaceans are amongst the most abundant animals on our planet, and they play a vital role in regulating Earth’s climate. In this article, we will explain what happens when copepods encounter this microscopic plastic, why they eat plastic, and the impacts it has on their health and on the wider ecosystem.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 11 Mar 2022 09:55
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2023 15:33

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