I like to share WSJ articles that I find interesting.
Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch Is Bursting With Life , Anemones and barnacles thrive on toothbrushes and bottle shards thousands of miles from shore
An 80,000-ton cloud of plastic and trash floating in the Pacific Ocean is an environmental disaster. It is also teeming with life. Biologists who fished toothbrushes, rope, and broken bottle shards from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch found them studded with gooseneck barnacles and jet-black sea anemones glistening like buttons. All told they found 484 marine invertebrates from 46 species clinging to the detritus, they reported Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. The trash patch is the product of circular currents that form whirlpool-like gyres in five stretches of the world’s oceans. Plastic and ocean trash is swept into these spaces. A five-day boat ride from the California coast, where it spans over 610,000 square miles, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the biggest of these aggregations. “Microplastic” shards less than 5 millimeters long account for most of the debris, suspended in the water like pepper flakes in soup, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Between November 2018 and January 2019, the team collected 105 pieces of debris including nets, buoys, and household items such as buckets and toothbrushes. They photographed and froze the objects before bringing them back to land. Ashore at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center laboratories in California and Maryland, they thawed the cargo piece by piece and scoured it for signs of life.
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