Pelagic red crabs swim at Cortes Bank, a seamount off San Diego. These small, filter-feeding ocean animals play a role in the distribution of microplastics throughout the water column, a new study says.
Tiny plastic pieces are spread throughout the deep sea
The finding adds to the growing body of evidence that microplastics permeate our oceans.
For many years, scientists have tried to account for the amount of plastic waste that should be in the world’s oceans, given how much is estimated to leak into the seas every year. So far, the tally points to the largest concentrations on the surface and in coastal waters. But much of it remains “missing.”
And scientists can’t fully assess whatever harm plastics cause to the environment until they learn where they are. Now, new research off the California coast suggests an even larger plastics reservoir: deep offshore pelagic waters, the largest habitat on Earth.
Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute found high concentrations of microplastics in Monterey Bay, a deep submarine canyon ecosystem that lies in the