Menu

Ocean Plastic Aid Insects

Floating pools of plastic debris in the Pacific offer more surfaces for marine insects to lay eggs.

May 10, 2012
Cristina Luiggi

FLICKR, GARRETTC

The large amounts of plastic debris that have been accumulating in the north Pacific Ocean for decades may be altering the resident ecosystems in unexpected ways. According to a new study published in Biology Letters this week (May 8), open sea insects that lay eggs on solid substrates are increasingly using tiny plastic particles less than 5 millimeters in diameter for this purpose.

Insects such as Halobates sericeus, which normally lay their eggs on the rare piece of drift wood or pumice, are benefiting from the increased surface area the plastic debris is providing, and are laying more eggs. Indeed, over the past 4 decades, the number of plastic particles that have drifted into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, brief description, has increased by about 100 times.

While researchers are uncertain of the wider impact of this increase in egg-laying, it is likely to have an immediate effect on the animals that prey on the insects, Miriam Goldstein, a marine ecologist at the University of California, San Diego and author of the paper, told ScienceNow. "This is an ecosystem that doesn't have many nutrients. There's a lot of things there that are hungry all the time."

The authors also worry that a boom in insect populations may deplete the plankton populations that they feed on, but conclude that further research is needed in order to understand widespread ecological effects.

 

September 2018

The Muscle Issue

The dynamic tissue reveals its secrets

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Enabling Genomics-Guided Precision Medicine

Enabling Genomics-Guided Precision Medicine

Download this eBook from Qiagen to learn more about the promise of precision medicine and how QCITM Interpret can help deliver better care with better knowledge.

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Download this white paper from Bertin Technologies to learn how to extract and analyze lipid samples from various models!

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced the launch of two new chromatography media for process protein purification: CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin.

Immunophenotypic Analysis of Human Blood Leukocyte Subsets

Immunophenotypic Analysis of Human Blood Leukocyte Subsets

Download this application note from ACEA Biosciences, Inc., to find out how to perform an immunophenotypic analysis of a human blood sample utilizing 13 fluorescent markers using a compact benchtop flow cytometer equipped with 3 lasers!