29 Nov '17, 4pm

Plastic in the ocean smells like junk food to hungry anchovies

Plastic in the ocean smells like junk food to hungry anchovies

Researchers created blends of algae- and bacteria-coated plastic, clean plastic, and plain seawater to test whether anchovies are drawn to the scent of plastic debris in the ocean. The odors of plastic pieces coated in algae or bacteria sparked vigorous feeding behavior in the fish. By eating plastics, anchovies and other baitfish could become toxic to the animals and people who rely on them for food. As plastic debris drifts through the ocean, it accumulates a coating of algae and bacteria. That coating smells delectable — that is, if you’re a fish. Northern anchovies (Engraulis mordax ) find the scent of “biofouled” plastic irresistible, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B . The silvery schooling fish detect the scent that marine algae and bacteria transfer onto bits of plastic, and launch into a flashing, darting feeding frenz...

Full article: https://news.mongabay.com/2017/11/plastic-in-the-ocean-sm...

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