A novel scientific approach to addressing the effect of pollution on marine life.

By Alec Tyminski

Researchers Maya Cheikh and Richard Thomson recently introduced a novel scientific approach to examining various marine environments. The study, carried out at the University of Plymouth, utilized a type of mollusc known as the great scallop in order to document how quickly plastic nanoparticles can infiltrate the bodies and lungs of aquatic animals. Nanoparticles were created within their lab facility and incorporated with a label. The label allowed the team to assess how many and how quickly the nanoparticles entered the body of the scallop at environmentally relevant concentrations. The results of the study revealed that nanoparticles can be rapidly taken up by marine organisms. Cheikh reports that “in just a few hours they [. . .] can become distributed across most major organs.” Even after the scallops were moved to clean water conditions, traces of the particles remained for weeks after the experiment was concluded. This study introduced a novel way of documenting plastic pollutants on marine life, as well as bringing attention to how quickly those animals can be affected by the rising amount of pollution within our oceans today.

University of Plymouth. (2018, December 3). Billions of nanoplastics accumulate in marine organisms within six hours. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 14, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181203080339.htm