2016-2017 – 13 million tons of plastic make their way into our oceans every year. Not only plastic bags and fishing nets, also bigger pieces of plastic like car parts, rubbish bins and other stuff that really should not be there.
Whales ingest it and die of the sharp items or starve with a full stomach or it decays into ever smaller pieces, so small, that it becomes invisible for our eyes. But that’s where carelessness strikes back and becomes threatening. Threatening for the whole ecosystem.
This influence on our environment was the motivation to investigate how science is dealing with this problem. Visits of the german coast of the North Sea doing field investigations and being supported with insights into research on this important topic by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany who study the digestive system of shrimps and mussels and by the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research in Büsum, Germany, who were examining the 11 stranded sperm whales in the beginning of 2017 helped documenting and understanding this issue. There is still a lot to do in many different fields, to work against this ecologic issue. This work gives a small insight.
Whiteboard in the office of Biologist Lars Gutow showing an experiment scheme
to study the hereditability of temperature tolerance of crustaceans