New data show how microplastics ended up in the Arctic Ocean.
Around the Svalbard archipelago in the ocean, rhodoliths made up of coralline red algae is essential for a wide variety of organism. But, with the recent discovery of microplastics, the ecosystems’ future is at stake.
Here is what you need to know.
The Ecosystem Creates Habitat For Many Species
The organisms in the Arctic Ocean are most times underestimated. Unfortunately, the trend will continue.
In some regions, marine life is considered as distinct as that present on coral reefs. And the rhodoliths are responsible for that distinction.
FACT: rhodoliths are some nodules made of coralline red algae, a bit larger than a fist.
Inside the calcareous skeletons of those small nodules is a type of mollusk that is really unique and is hiding there from predators.
The rhodoliths and the mollusks are also known the ecosystem engineers because they can create a habitat for many organisms. So, you can imagine now how dangerous are the microplastics found in the Arctic Ocean for these “engineers.”
Every Single Mollusk Contains Microplastics
The new research found microplastics in every mollusk, a thing that is so unexpected and worrying.
Ines Pyko from the Professorship for Paleontology at FAU released a statement:
“As mollusks filter water when feeding and because a large proportion of the Arctic is already contamined with microplastics, we expected to find particles of microplastics, but not in this quantity and variety.”
The Arctic Ecosystem Threatened
The impact of microplastics on the Arctic ecosystem is still unknown, but researchers revealed that it is highly threatened.
Previous research has shown that microplastics can cause inflammation in the mollusks’ tissue. And if such organisms can’t longer do their work as ecosystems engineers, then all the organisms will be in danger.
Researchers aim to raise awareness about the Arctic’s current situation and urge people to support the scientific field.