Oceans

Scientists and citizens are studying the ecosystem created by organisms colonising plastic waste in the sea and ocean

Do you know what the "plastisphere" is? It is a new ecosystem created by organisms (bacteria, viruses, algae, etc.) colonising plastic waste in the sea and ocean. The presence and diversity of potentially dangerous living organisms carried by plastic debris and the dominant interactions between them call for constant monitoring through sampling campaigns.
The presence of potentially dangerous and pathogenic micro-organisms and their impact on the marine environment and on mankind is one of the latest challenges of plastic pollution. It is the subject of a scientific study recently published in the journal Environmental Pollution. The study was conducted using samples collected by Expédition MED's Citizen Laboratory of Participatory Science, led by Linda Amaral-Zettler, a biologist at the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.

Entitled "Microbial interactions in the Mediterranean 'plastisphere’", the study shows the influence of biogeography on the structure of microbial communities present on plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea and reveals the importance of constantly monitoring this ecosystem through sampling campaigns.
Photo credits: Expédition MED

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