Study first to tally biomass from oceanic plastic debris using visualization method

Read the full story from Florida Atlantic University.

Scientists examined cell abundances, size, cellular carbon mass, and how photosynthetic cells differ on polymeric and glass substrates over time, exploring nanoparticle generation from plastic like polystyrene and how this might disrupt microalgae. Conservative estimates suggest that about 1 percent of microbial cells in the ocean surface microlayer inhabit plastic debris globally. This mass of cells would not exist without plastic debris in the ocean, and thus, represents a disruption of the proportions of native flora in that habitat.

Associated journal article: Shiye Zhao, Erik R. Zettler, Linda A. Amaral-Zettler, Tracy J. Mincer. Microbial carrying capacity and carbon biomass of plastic marine debrisThe ISME Journal, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41396-020-00756-2

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