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Tiny plastic dwellers have big impact on our oceans

Microscopic creatures that live on tiny ocean plastics greatly affect the fate and ecological impacts of marine plastic pollution, according to researchers from The University of Western Australia.

PhD candidate Julia Reisser and colleagues have published an article in the international journal PLOS One that contributed many new records of microbes and invertebrates living on sand-sized marine plastics.

Winthrop Professor Chari Pattiaratchi, Ms Reisser's PhD supervisor, said there were huge numbers of floating plastics at sea and the study was the first to document biological communities on pieces from Australian waters.

The tiny ocean plastics come from the breakdown of discarded plastic items, such as single-use packaging and fishing gear.

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