Plastic toy turtle and other plastic garbage floating in the ocean. Unlike organic debris, which biodegrades, the photodegraded plastic disintegrates into smaller and smaller pieces and it concentrates in the upper water column. As it disintegrates, the plastic ultimately becomes small enough to be ingested by aquatic organisms that reside near the ocean's surface. In this way, plastic may become concentrated in neuston, thereby entering the food chain. While eating their normal sources of food, plastic ingestion can be unavoidable or the animal may mistake the plastic as a food source.
Paulo de Oliveira / Biosphoto
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