Wednesday April 19, 2023


Scientists studying a giant collection of plastic trash floating in the middle of the open ocean have found some unexpected inhabitants: dozens of marine species that usually stick close to the coast.

Among the plastic debris, the researchers found all kinds of nonnative species, from anemones to worms to little crustaceans.

“To find that many coastal species on a relatively small sample size was shocking,” says Linsey Haram, a marine ecologist who did this research while working at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

The findings, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, should help overturn the long-held idea that the open ocean is a barrier that most coastal species could never breach.

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