Science

Deep Sea Animals Found Eating Microplastics

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 01, 2016 03:00 AM EDT
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Much of our world remains a mystery. However, such places, even if still largely undiscovered, are being affected by environmental concerns that affect people. Scientists have begun to find out that deep sea animals have been eating microplastics. 

The fallout of our environmental issues reaches even deeper. As in literally deeper. Microfibers are being eaten by deep sea animals found in the mid-Atlantic and the southwest Indian Ocean, according to Phys Org. Such animals as hermit crabs, squat lobsters and sea cucumbers have been including microplastics into their diet.

Researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Oxford have found that these creatures have been feeding on microbeads. The researchers have discovered this on two sites at the depths between 300 to 1800m while onboard the Royal Research Ship (RSS) James Cook. Microbeads are often found in cosmetics and cleaning materials, though it could also found on materials that fishing lines are made of.

Materials found inside the deep sea creatures include polyester, nylon and acrylic. These materials are as little as 5mm, which is the size that defines microplastics. As these materials fall to the ocean floor marine creatures begin to feed on them.

"The main purpose of this research expedition was to collect microplastics from sediments in the deep ocean, and we found lots of them." Dr. Michelle Taylor of Oxford University's Department of Zoology and lead author of the study said.

She further noted that deep-sea animals interact with these microplastics and even feed on them. She further also stated that these materials are far from coastal areas and are in the deep.

The U.K. plans to have plastic microbeads banned by 2017. Environmental damage has been caused by these materials and this has been found out by a report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, as Science Daily reports.

The findings of the study show that the extent of environmental damage might be far greater. With so much of the ocean's depths still not explored, it might take some time before knowing how much that extent might be. Knowing how wide environmental damage is would help governments in finding ways to solve and maybe even reverse its effects.

Our world still has much mysteries, such as that of the night singing fish, as reported by iTechPost.

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