High levels of plastic pollution can kill the embryos of a wide range of ocean animals, new research shows. Scientists tested the effects of new PVC pellets (pre-production “nurdles” used to make many plastic products) on the development of seven species, spanning all major groups (superphyla) of ocean animals.

Exposure to high concentrations of PVC pellets prevented healthy development in all seven species. The main process affected was morphogenesis – an organism developing its shape – and shapeless embryos cannot survive.

The study, by an international team led by the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (Italy) and the University of Exeter (UK), highlights the “potentially catastrophic effects” of rising levels of plastic in the ocean.

Source: ENN

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