Photo: Scripps Oceanography
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a rotating mass of plastic debris in the North Pacific — has increased 100-fold in the last four decades, according to a new study published by the journal Biology Letters. The giant swirl of trash, roughly the size of Texas, poses numerous hazards to birds and marine life that mistake tiny bits of plastic for food.
Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography also found that the growing mound of debris is providing a new habitat for marine insects known as “sea-skaters.”
The insects, which prey on plankton and fish eggs, are laying their eggs on top of the trash in larger numbers than before, says MSNBC’s Ian Johnston.
The alarming amount of trash and an increase in the insect’s egg densities may have consequences for animals across the marine food web, including crabs that prey on sea skaters, according to Scripps.
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