Plastic debris found inside jellyfish

Plastic debris found inside jellyfish

Marine biologists have found large particles of plastic debris in the digestive system of a jellyfish.

The findings, reported in an article in Scientific Reports, once again confirm that the plastic is included in the food chain of marine ecosystems at various levels.

Marine biologists has shown that jellyfish often swallow a large plastic fragments which drift with the currents — for example, in one of his published photos of jellyfish Pelagia “mouth” sticking out of the ribbon from the cigarette пачки

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The pollution of the seas with plastic waste leads to the generation of particles of various polymers in the food chain on which the plastic can rise to the highest levels.

Microscopic polymer fibers and debris were found in the zooplankton composition in fish intestines and even the feces of seals. In addition, microparticles of plastic were found in most samples of tap water around the world and in household dust, which the person swallows about 100 fibers of plastic for one meal.

However, marine animals have not only microparticles, but also with a large garbage — episodes from swallowing large pieces of plastic debris have been registered for more than two hundred species of vertebrates.

As it turned out, the plastic also poses a risk to invertebrates, marine biologists from Italy, together with participants of expedition “Aquatilis” first discovered episodes from swallowing large pieces of debris pelagic jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca in the Mediterranean sea. The first such case was registered with the help of pictures one of the organizers of the expedition, an employee of the white sea biological station of Moscow state University named after Pertsov Alexander Semenov — in the digestive system jellyfish was discovered a fragment of plastic packaging from a pack of cigarettes. To determine the scale of the consumption of garbage jellyfish, the researchers picked 20 copies and the four individuals found in the digestive system is quite large particles of polyethylene larger than a centimeter, and a fragment of dried zinc paint.

As the researchers explain, for the jellyfish problem absorbing waste even more relevant than for vertebrates — in contrast to the actively moving fish and mammals, jellyfish drift along with ocean currents and often find themselves at the epicenter of the accumulations of plastic waste.

Eating debris can lead to blockage of the digestive tract and the poisoning of animals released components of the plastics such as phthalates. Together with dead jellyfish plastic sinks to the bottom, where it can form deposits. In addition, jellyfish feed on fish, many of which are of commercial value (e.g., tuna). Thus, the absorption of plastic jellyfish eventually leads to the spread above him on the food chain and active inclusion in the ecosystem.

We also talked about how plastic garbage is dangerous to corals in coral reefs, the scientists estimate that stuck more than a billion pieces of debris. The concentration of plastic increases the likelihood of coral bleaching and the chances of getting chernoplodnoy disease.

Daria Spasskaya