Environment Study of North Pacific 'garbage patch' shows abundance of neuston organisms

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A team of researchers from the U.K. and the U.S. has found that in addition to human garbage, the North Pacific "garbage patch" also has an abundance of neuston organisms. In their paper posted on the bioRxiv site, the group describes their study of material in the patch of sea and what sorts of creatures they found living in it.

Prior research has shown that there is an abundance of neuston in the Subtropical North Atlantic Gyre, which forms the Sargasso Sea—parts of which have been labeled the North Atlantic garbage patch, due to the huge amounts of human garbage that has accumulated there. Neuston is a term that has been coined to refer to floating lifeforms on the sea surface, and a gyre is a spiral or vortex, where water turns like clouds in a hurricane only much more slowly. Because the spinning is in the form of a vortex, material at the outer edge is pulled toward the center, which is why neuston and garbage tend to coalesce in them. In this new effort, the researchers wondered if there were similar numbers of neuston in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, which has over time come to be called the North Pacific garbage patch (NPGP) due to the large amount of human garbage floating in its center.

 
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