A coral polyp ingesting a plastic particle
A new Duke University study has revealed that plastic appears to taste good to corals. Scientists have long believed fish ingest plastic mistakenly, but corals do not have eyesight, which means they very well could enjoy the taste of plastic. Researchers collected corals from the waters around North Carolina for the study and fed them eight different types of microplastics—the corals consumed each type.
As plastic is not digestible, the consumption can cause blockages and trick the corals into thinking they are full causing all sorts of problems. Over the course of the study researchers found about eight percent of the plastic consumed was still sitting inside the corals beyond 24 hours.
Austin S. Allen, a PhD student at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, said, “Corals in our experiments ate all types of plastics, but preferred unfouled microplastics by a threefold difference over microplastics covered in bacteria. This suggests the plastic itself contains something that makes it tasty.” the study was published in the online edition of the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. Further research into the exact additives the coral is most attracted in the plastic is still needed.
Read more here.
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