Reef Recycling

This ocean… what… a… dump.

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Eight MILLION pieces of plastic enter the ocean DAILY. This poses a HUGE threat to marine life. Think dolphins trapped in plastic bags! Are we the only ones to reduce, reuse and recycle?  

Enter Tainah Freitas and colleagues from the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil.

They collected over two hundred and fifty images to observe octopus interactions with litter. The octo-PICS came from databases and social media all over the world! Octopi are intelligent creatures who need natural shelters. These shelters are hard to find as the ocean warms, yet octopuses survive INK-redibly! 

How? In over half of the images, the octopi were using litter for shelter. How Tenti-COOL!! They made glass bottles and aluminum cans their home, especially to protect their eggs. Some also used plastic litter for essential activities like burrowing and walking! 

This study highlights the resourcefulness of SOME marine life in a changing environment. 

But don’t even think about leaving your trash at the beach, buster!

Reference: Freitas, T. B. N., Leite, T. S., de Ramos, B., di Cosmo, A., & Proietti, M. C. (2022). In an octopus’s garden in the shade: Underwater image analysis of litter use by benthic octopuses. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 175, 113339.