[Coral-List] Surprise

Damien Beri beridl at g.cofc.edu
Tue Nov 7 18:58:54 EST 2017

Incredible work... 

What could we possibly coat plastic with that would increase thermal tolerance when ingested by coral?  Certain plastics can absorb nitrates correct? 

> On Nov 6, 2017, at 8:12 PM, Vassil Zlatarski <vzlatarski at gmail.com> wrote:
> <https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/> Dear Coral-Listers,Yesterday
> with same subject was posted very long link.  Sorry for the inconvenience,
> down is the text without  the picture.Cheers,
> Vassil
> Corals Seem to Like the “Taste” of Plastic Corals are attracted to the
> material not for its coloring, but for one of its many chemicalsA coral
> polyp chowing down on a flake of white plastic (Alex Seymour, Duke
> University )
> By Jason Daley <https://www.smithsonianmag.com/author/jason-daley/>
> smithsonian.com
> November 3, 2017
> 541601631
> One of the problems with plastic in the oceans is that when it breaks down
> into tiny bits of microplastic, it looks like fish food. Then, marine
> creatures swallow it, thinking it is prey. But as Ben Guarino at *The
> Washington Post*
> <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/10/30/corals-eat-plastic-because-weve-made-it-tasty-study-suggests/?utm_term=.8db8ef7a98ce>
> reports, researchers have discovered that, at least when it comes to coral,
> the animals may eat plastic for another reason: They think it tastes
> delicious.
> Researchers at Duke University hand fed corals in a saltwater tank
> collected off the Carolina coast, feeding them tiny grains of sand and
> plastic. During the study, when the bits of sand came near a coral polyp’s
> mouth, it would close the orifice and use the cilia on its body to brush
> the sand way. When a bit of plastic floated by, however, they brought it to
> their mouth using their tentacles. While the coral ate 80 percent of the
> six varieties of plastic grains dropped on them, they only ate sand 1 in 10
> times.
> The researchers performed a second experiment, offering the coral bits of
> plastic covered with a biofilm. It turned out, the corals preferred the raw
> plastic to the bio-contaminated bits, suggesting that there’s something in
> the plain plastic bits they find appealing. The study appears in the
> journal *Marine Pollution Bulletin
> <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X17306112?via%3Dihub>*
> ..
> “Corals in our experiments ate all types of plastics but preferred unfouled
> microplastics by a threefold difference over microplastics covered in
> bacteria,” study co-leader Austin S. Allen, a Duke Ph.D. candidate says in
> a press release <http://phys.org/news/2017-10-corals-plastics.html>. “This
> suggests the plastic itself contains something that makes it tasty.”
> The researchers aren’t sure yet what that substance is. “When plastic comes
> from the factory, it has hundreds of chemical additives on it. Any one of
> these chemicals or a combination of them could be acting as a stimulant
> that makes plastic appealing to corals,” Duke GIS analyst and study co-lead
> Alexander C. Seymour adds.
> This is just one more wrinkle in the complicated relationship between ocean
> life and plastics. As Veronique Greenwood at *The New York Times*
> <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/science/corals-plastic-taste.html>
> reports, over 200 species of sea life—including turtles (who mistake bags
> as jellyfish), birds, and now corals—have been recorded eating plastic.
> Researchers are just beginning to understand how plastic consumption is
> impacting creatures. These plastics can enter into the food chain—possibly
> even working their way up to humans. And there is still many unknowns about
> what those plastic compounds do to different animals. One recent study
> suggests that nanoparticles of plastic can make it into the brains of fish
> <https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170925104730.htm>, causing
> behavioral changes.
> Plastic in the ocean is a massive problem. A study from 2015
> <http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124006;jsessionid=123F0E078E457FC6106D3ACEE956F209.c3.iopscience.cld.iop.org>
> estimated there are between 15 and 51 trillion bits of plastic in the
> oceans, creating a plastic soup. There’s so much plastic it’s even making
> it to pristine areas of the Arctic
> <https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/part-arctic-ocean-suffering-plastic-pollution-180962985/>
> once believed to be free from pollution.
> While the coral might find the plastic bits tasty, their guts do not.
> Within 24 hours, most of the corals had expelled the indigestible plastic
> grains, but 8 percent got stuck in their intestines, which could lead to
> fatal blockages and the leaching of chemicals from the plastic, which could
> have hormonal effects.
> As Guarino reports, it’s possible that the situation at sea may be
> different—coral in the wild may avoid tiny plastic pieces. The lab is
> currently working to find out if other marine invertebrates also find the
> plastic bits appealing, according to Greenwood. If it turns out that coral
> and other creatures are being impacted in the wild because of plastic’s
> tasty chemicals, it could lead to calls to change the way the stuff is
> made. “If we could manufacture plastic to taste attractive, maybe we can
> manufacture plastic to taste repulsive,” Seymour tells Greenwood. “Maybe we
> can prevent critters from eating plastic in the first place.”
> The best solution, of course, is keeping plastic out of the ocean. But
> that’s easier said than done: 9 million tons of plastic
> <https://www.fastcompany.com/3068595/what-will-it-take-to-keep-plastic-out-of-the-oceans>
> enter the ocean each year. And human trash has made it all the way to the
> bottom of Earth’s
> <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/13/extraordinary-levels-of-toxic-pollution-found-in-10km-deep-mariana-trench>deepest
> spots in the Mariana Trench.
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