Sea turtles smell in a dirty plastic food

Scientists have found that the smell of plastic waste, on which grow the microorganisms and algae, it attracts sea turtles as well as their usual food. Probably because of this, animals often swallow plastic, which puts their lives in danger. Article published in the journal Current Biology.

Plastic trash accumulating in the ocean and about 700 species of animals are faced with it in the natural environment. Some individuals eat plastic or get tangled up in it that puts their life at risk. However, it is still not entirely clear what causes animals to consume non-edible items.

There is a hypothesisthat sea turtles, for example, take plastic for the jellyfish they feed on. There is also data that the animals not only attracts the look but also the smell. The fact that objects floating in the ocean accumulate bacteria, algae and small animals; they also secrete substances which smell similar to the smell of prey. However, until now it was not investigated whether the plastic garbage attracts animals smell.

A group of scientists under the leadership of Joseph Pfaller (Joseph Pfaller) from the University of Florida studied the response of loggerhead turtles (Caretta Caretta) to different smells. The animals were placed in pool — in through the tube came the smell of food, which the turtles used to eat in captivity, overgrown biological material of a plastic bottle, deionized water or pure plastic (the latter two samples served as a control). As the rate of interest the turtles used the time during which animals keep their nostrils above the water surface.

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