Deep Dive

What menacing secrets lurk in the depths of the ocean?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science,saying…one word: “Plastics!”

Plastics have been invading our oceans for years. Unfortunately, many animals, such as sea turtles, mistake them for food. But does plastic reach the creatures dwelling in the DEEPEST parts of the ocean?

Lauren Brooks and colleagues at Newcastle University dove deep to explore for themselves. How deep? Almost eleven thousand meters!

They collected amphipods from six trenches in the Pacific Ocean. Amphipods are tiny crustaceans; you may have seen them hopping around on the beach.
Back at the lab, they dissected the critters’ guts.

What spilled out? Colorful PLASTICS! Over seventy percent of amphipods had at least one fiber in their gut. These included nylon and polyester, fibers commonly found in clothing. What does this mean for oceans worldwide?

Nothing good if plastics are on the menu at even the deepest reaches of the planet.
Big things eat smaller things, so these fibers could be filling up the fish we eat.

Maybe it is better for the ocean to spill its guts!