Aggregates formed by polystyrene beads and biogenic particles during laboratory experiments. Image: Jan Michels/Future Ocean
Fate of plastics in the ocean - Earth science news

While many used plastics end up in the oceans, surprisingly few plastic particles are found high in the water column. Now, by doing experiments in the laboratory, scientists have found that plastic microparticles aggregate with biological material, such as living or dead plankton together known as biogenics, and then sink to the bottom of the sea. This effect is even stronger when the plastics have been in contact with biofilm that consists of bacteria and single cell algae. The results of these laboratory experiments should still be verified in the oceans, where the presence of biogenics and biofilm are the typical condition.

Read the full story: Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Geomar)
Scientific publication: Proceedings of the Royal Society B