New Life Discovered Growing on Plastic Waste Dubbed the 'Plastisphere'

"A whole new group of microscopic creatures has been found growing of the vast amount of discarded plastic floating in the world's oceans."

"Vast amounts of of plastic debris floating in the ocean are supporting new forms of microscopic life and whole new ecosystems. Scientists writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology are collectively calling this new life the 'plastisphere'.

Previous studies have thoroughly outlined the harmful effects of plastic on animals such as fish, birds and other forms of marine life. However, none had fully assessed the effects of plastic on microscopic ocean dwellers.

The team, which included Tracy Mincer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and Linda Amaral-Zettler of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, used fine mesh nets to collect pieces of plastic — around 1 to 5mm in diameter — from sites in the North Atlantic Ocean."

Penny Orbell reports for Australian ABC November 13, 2013.

Source: Australian ABC, 11/13/2013