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AllanfromWales1 t1_ja2zjlq wrote

Really good news, at least for now. Has anyone done research to identify at what level of contamination with plastics there is a measurable harmful effect on higher lifeforms than copepods?


Adam-Ridens t1_ja31cgv wrote

There are studies about how nano plastic are able to permeate cells and the effects these particles have on cell structures. Im sure a quick google will put it in your hand.


AllanfromWales1 t1_ja31t6l wrote

I've read a few, but they don't really address the question of the level of contamination needed to cause measurable harm.


Adam-Ridens t1_ja33p4g wrote

It's new. They are out there, the fact that plastics are getting so small and are able to inhibit cell functions like rna creation is a whole new level of didn't see that coming. It's gunna to be crazy to see how this impacts evolution. The dna Zipper is going to have a lot more hiccups now. This is my hypothesis from my readings and inferences, and I hope nature can prevail.


CryoAurora t1_ja3i547 wrote

Also, the chemicals of those plastics leak and degrade into a nasty soup. Toxic enough to cause nerve damage.


AllanfromWales1 t1_ja3zwt2 wrote

One 100 micron particle per 10 litres of water isn't gonna make a very strong soup.


Smolenski t1_ja40bbc wrote

I am not knowledge about this, but at what rate does the plastic particles show up in the waters? Wouldn't it become a bad thing at some point? I suppose it's not just gonna be at a standstill or disappear.


AllanfromWales1 t1_ja42tnn wrote

I just looked it up. Estimated total quantity of plastic produced to date since plastic production started is about 10 billion tonnes. Estimated total weight of seawater in the world is around 1.5 billion billion tonnes. So even if all that plastic was in the seas, there would be 150 million times as much water as plastic. In reality it's only a problem when the amount of plastic particles in a particular location is very much higher than the global average.


marketrent OP t1_ja2nv92 wrote

Findings in title quoted from the linked summary^1 about research^2 at Danmarks Tekniske Universitet.

From the linked summary:^1

>To collect the samples, the researchers used equipment that can capture far smaller plastic particles than those picked up by the equipment that’s usually used to collect plastic in the oceans.

>This is because the researchers are particularly interested in particles that are so small that copepods—which make up a significant part of the marine food chain—can eat them.

>Specifically, particles that measure less than 300 micrometres (one thousandth of a millimetre) and down to 10 micrometres.

>The researchers found between 25 and 100 microplastic particles per cubic metre of water collected. In the samples with the highest measured concentration, this corresponds to one plastic particle per 10 litres of water.

>By contrast, the samples contained about 100,000 times more plankton than microplastics.

>According to PhD student Gunaalan Kuddithamby, not many studies have used this method—both because it is difficult to collect the samples and because it is expensive and time-consuming to analyse them.


>Video footage from the laboratory experiments shows that in four out of five cases, the copepods spit out the plastic particles.

>“Even though they catch thousands of particles in their tiny mouthparts, they can tell that they’re not food, either because of the structure or taste of the particles.

>“They taste hundreds of particles a minute, but when a plastic particle goes in, they spit it out,” explains Torkel Gissel Nielsen.

>“If they do eat the microplastic particles, we’ve shown in other experiments that they excrete them—just like kids who’ve accidentally eaten small beads,” he says.

>This also means that the microplastics don’t bioaccumulate when the copepods become meals for larger organisms, which in turn are eaten by larger animals, and so on.

^1 Danish waters are filled with plankton, not microplastics, Miriam Meister, 26 Feb. 2023,

^2 Gunaalan Kuddithamby et al. Abundance and distribution of microplastics in surface waters of the Kattegat/ Skagerrak (Denmark), Environmental Pollution 318, 120853 (2023)


bigoldeek t1_ja46qxi wrote

I, too, expel detectable inedible matter from my head hole.


Sarthaen1 t1_ja4s1jt wrote

DAE spit out big chunks of plastic when they get them in their mouth?


Koujinkamu t1_ja7ho01 wrote

I, too, am spending my life coping in my pod


eatingganesha t1_ja46zu6 wrote

Nice to see at least one creature is coping well.


ouath t1_ja41k0c wrote

The maximum densities are between 0 and 100 m depth for plankton. Is it representative of Danish waters ? Is it the same for microplastics or below 300 nm plastics can dive further ?

The first part of the title could have been better

Good news for the second part though


Delaware1618 t1_ja77kl9 wrote

You're quite right. Other Danish scientists, quoted in Danish media, are sceptical that all samples were taken from animals midway in the water column and not from feeders at the ocean bottom. This research is interesting, but not a complete picture.


schnelle_Libelle t1_ja4b9gh wrote

Ooh, thats what they call them danes in science: Copepods.

Makes sense, looking at Copenhagen ;P


Puzzleheaded_Heat502 t1_ja2o4bh wrote

Are they looking for the craby patty recipe though?


LandmassWave t1_ja5dwmc wrote

I never knew Plankton was a reasonably accurate depiction. The others all look like what we know but they could have gotten away with anything in his case.


TheVirusWins t1_ja3rjj2 wrote

Would the micro plastics affect baleen whales?


agasizzi t1_ja463ta wrote

If the plankton and copepods can excrete them, likely do can large mammals. How they impact hill health and other filter feeders would be another thing to be concerned with.


dangil t1_ja4bfb3 wrote

So microplastics don’t affect the food chain in Danish waters


Superb_Nature_2457 t1_ja5j9nm wrote

It doesn’t mean the stuff’s not being ingested by other animals, unfortunately.


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xXS1RSL0THXx t1_ja4mfx5 wrote

I just hate how funny I find the name copepods


MrMayhem3 t1_ja69xav wrote

Well, we just need to increase our microplastics then.


Werewolf_Tailor t1_ja408f3 wrote

One more article about how good it is to live in Scandinavia…


fourdac t1_ja39g18 wrote

Some animals eat rocks for their digestion, we can eat some plastic no problem


Adam-Ridens t1_ja3gbi6 wrote

Whoever mentioned spongbob, I'm pretty sure I found patrick here.