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Scientists Have Discovered Microbial Communities Thriving on Plastic Marine Debris

Science & Tech  (tags: oceans, scientists, plastc marine debris, open oceans, polyethylene and polypropylene, microbial reefs, Plastisphere, single-celled animals, fungi, bacteria, pathogens, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, ocean gyres, plastic patches )

- 1880 days ago -
Welcome to the Plastisphere, a biological wilderness on microbial reefs of polyethylene and polypropylene in the open ocean teeming with single-celled animals, fungi and bacteria, many of them newly discovered.


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Robert O (12)
Friday August 2, 2013, 11:08 am
Thanks Judy.

Birgit W (160)
Friday August 2, 2013, 1:21 pm

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday August 2, 2013, 2:48 pm
Noted. Interesting; thanks, Judy. So, if fish are consuming some of this, I guess I'm still not eating fish. Sigh!

Mitchell D (87)
Friday August 2, 2013, 5:41 pm
I have heard of this before, but that they are thriving is wonderful
Damn, here is a fantastic example of evolution, something one might call "proof," because I'm sure there were no plastic eating microbes before humankind created plastics.
There may have been microbes with the genetic potential, or precursors, to wind up able to digest plastic, no, ther had to have been such little beasties.
In this latter respect, see Kit's posting about "Bird Brain Dinosaurs," the quotes are mine.

Sheila D (194)
Friday August 2, 2013, 5:50 pm
Interesting. Agree no fish eating. Also agree that evolution will always surprise. Now if only we will find some microbes that can eat all that disgusting plastic...Noted with thanks.

Kit B (276)
Friday August 2, 2013, 6:00 pm

Makes me wish Michael Crichton was still around. The Plastic Eaters are here, but what will they bring? Will they clean up the hazard of plastic in the oceans or eat plastic and release toxins? Evolution and mother nature should never be dismissed, but carefully observed. Mother Nature cares not for the whims of man.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Friday August 2, 2013, 9:00 pm
Intriguing and always fascinating is this world that we sometimes pay little attention to.

Robert Hardy (68)
Friday August 2, 2013, 11:44 pm
DAMN! Lends credibility to the microbes from space theory of how life started on earth.

Melania Padilla (123)
Sunday August 4, 2013, 7:04 pm
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