Marine animals don’t eat pieces of plastic more than one-twentieth of one’s own body

Scientists from Wales have established a link maximum-size pieces of plastic debris that ingest aquatic animals, with the size of their body. In General, fish and other sea animals tend to consume plastic fragments up to a length of one-twentieth of their body length. These data will help to quantify the costs of ocean waste pollution of civilization. Article published in the journal Nature Communications.

The last decade environmentalists are actively studying the pollution of the world ocean and its implications. Special attention in these studies focused on plastic debris, as most types of plastics decompose for decades. Nearly 700 species of marine animals, for various reasons, devour plastic — for example, turtles can smell it food.

Scientists fear that despite the fact that a small dose of plastics can not bear the fatal consequences to the health of individual animals, they can still affect the nutrient Cycling at the scale of species and ecosystems. In order to be able to build a model of these potential changes, the frequency of absorption of plastic is to be measured quantitatively. At the moment these measurements are based, primarily, on the map the distribution of debris in the ocean.

Jams IFAN (Ifan B. Jâms) and his colleagues from Cardiff University decided to improve this evaluation system. They decided to find out the correlation between the size of the animal with the size of the plastic that it eats. To do this, they conducted the autopsy more than two thousand animals, primarily fish, but also marine mammals, invertebrates and reptiles (75, 9, 11 and 5 percent, respectively). The researchers focused on the animals living at depths of up to four kilometers.

Based on the described contents of the intestines of animals, scientists have built a graph that relates the maximum sizes of the detected particles of plastic with a body length of animals. It turned out that they are approximately related as one to twenty, that is, fish with a length of one meter tend to ignore the pieces are larger than five centimeters.

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