Barnacles at Risk from Plastic

When we think about protecting wildlife from pollution and the effects of man, we often imagine endangered species, large animals like the Black Rhino, the Mountain Gorilla and the South China Tiger. A new study shows that we should also be considering the risks to some of the smallest members of the food chain.


Scientist Miriam Goldstein of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography recently studied the intestinal tracts of gooseneck barnacles collected from an area in the Pacific known as the North Pacific Gyre. Roughly 33 percent of the 385 barnacles examined had ingested plastic particles.


At this time, the exact effects of plastic on barnacles is unknown, but scientists are concerned that it could have long-term detrimental effects that could disrupt the food chain that includes many aquatic birds, large fish and dolphins.



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