Microplastics – Reef-Building Corals Act as Long-Term Sink

The abstract of an Oct. 28, 2021, Global Change Biology paper https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15920 by researchers with Germany Justus Liebig University Giessen reports that “…microplastic concentrations in the seawater are lower than the number of particles entering the oceans, suggesting that plastic particles accumulate in environmental sinks … reef-building corals, have been shown to ingest and overgrow microplastics … we exposed four reef-building coral species to polyethylene microplastics … we found microplastics in all treatment specimens, with low numbers of particles trapped in the coral tissue … and much higher numbers in the skeleton ... We estimate that reef-building corals may remove 0.09%–2.82% of the bioavailable microplastics from tropical shallow-reef waters per year. Our study shows for the first time that microplastic particles accumulate permanently in a biological sink ... This highlights the importance of coral reefs for the ecological balance of the oceans and reinforces the need to protect them … to preserve their ecosystem services as long-term sink for microplastic …” #MicroPlastics #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #ReefBuildingCoral @jlugiessen