Technology They discover that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a unique ocean...

They discover that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a unique ocean ecosystem teeming with plastic-eating marine creatures

Life flourishes even among (marine) litter, and new research confirms it.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is more than just a whirlpool of plastics floating in the open sea more than 1,600 kilometers from the coast: it is also it has grown into an ecosystem that is home to a variety of marine creatures that cling to debris.

According to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, Scientists studying the infamous garbage heap have discovered dozens of marine species living in it.

These researchers They found 46 different species of invertebrates living in the debris, the vast majority of which were species normally only found along coastlines and not in the middle of the open ocean. Among them were sponges, oysters, anemones, crustaceans, barnacles, and earthworms.

The Pacific Garbage Patch usually refers to a area of ​​the Pacific Ocean located between California and Hawaii in which floating garbage is concentrated due to factors such as wind and currents.

The area — which looks more like a giant garbage soup than one big continuous pile — has become one of the most pitiful examples of plastic pollution in Earth’s oceans.

For their study, the researchers picked up 105 pieces of floating trash from the patch and examined them for signs of life, ultimately identifying 484 invertebrate organisms. More than 70% of the garbage collected contained coastal species.

“We expected to find some, we just didn’t expect to find it with such frequency and diversity,” he told The Atlantic Linsey Haram, a study co-author and then a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Center for Environmental Research.

The results too they contradict the assumption that coastal species are not capable of surviving in open ocean areas.

The authors claimed that the results suggest that the lack of available surface “limited the colonization of the open ocean by coastal species, rather than physiological or ecological constraints as previously assumed.”“.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch refers to areas of concentration of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean.

NOAA Marine Debris Program

“They are having a great time,” he explained by his side to The Wall Street Journal Matthias Egger, co-author of the study and head of environmental and social affairs at The Ocean Cleanup, referring to coastal species that live on garbage. “That’s really a shift in scientific understanding.”

The study also pointed out that many of the coastal animals lived in the same piece of garbage with animals that live in the open seabringing together species that were historically unlikely to come into contact.

“As humans, we are creating new types of ecosystems potentially never seen before,” he explained to The Atlantic biogeographer Ceridwen Fraser, from the University of Otago, who was not involved in the study.

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