Contact: Mary Beth O'Leary
Caption: Microscopic fragments of plastic -- or microplastics -- are pieces of plastic less than 5 mm in diameter and are a global marine pollutant. This image shows microplastic fragments and pre-production pellets collected from a sandy shoreline in Europe; these items are continually fragmenting in the environment. In this issue, experiments were conducted with sediment dwelling marine worms, showing that chemically inert microplastics of a size similar to sand grains from the beaches in which the worms lived caused physical harm (Wright et al.) whilst Browne et al. showed microplastic can move pollutants and additives to worms, reducing functions linked to health and biodiversity.
Credit: Current Biology, Wright et al.
Usage Restrictions: Credit Required
Related news release: Microplastics make marine worms sick