Wednesday, October 20

Do birds select the plastic they consume in the ocean? | Digital Trends Spanish


Plastic in the oceans constitutes a serious threat to the different species of seabirds that inhabit these ecosystems.

Everything indicates that this environmental problem will continue to get worse.

A recent study commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts notes that the amount of this material in the ocean could triple by 2040 if the proper measures are not taken.

The same reports assures that the plastic can remain in the ocean for hundreds of years and it is likely that it will never biodegrade.

Currently, several studies are trying to determine how plastic impacts different species.

Seabirds, for example, have been known to consume it, get trapped in it, and also use it to build their nests.

Is there a selection?

A study of Millennium Nucleus of Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI) tried to clarify if there are patterns or selection in the intake of plastic by seabirds or if they choose certain plastics for the manufacture of nests and the feeding of chicks.

An initial hypothesis suggested that they did select them, especially because species that search for food on the surface or those that dive for food had plastics with similar characteristics.

However, the researchers concluded that at least for plastic consumption there would be no selection by species.

“Our conclusion is that for ingestion there is no selectivity and they eat the plastic they catch,” explains researcher Valeria Hidalgo-Ruz for the Chilean newspaper La Tercera.

However, selectivity could be given when choosing plastics for nest construction, since the authors identified certain trends in the preferences of this material, which were towards strong colors.

“There was a pattern towards warmer colors, like an orange-red or a reddish-blue. There we did see selectivity ”, adds Hidalgo-Ruz.

For the authors, the results of their study showed that plastics are already found at different levels of the oceanic ecosystem and directly impact the life of marine species.

This reaffirms the need to adopt more committed measures to stop the serious contamination by this material in the planet’s oceans.

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