Remember the marine researcher who said the threat that plastics posed to sea life was being exaggerated? Today comes word from another researcher who disagrees. Mike James, a biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and adjunct professor with Dalhousie University's Department of Biology, looked specifically at the threat plastics pose to leatherback turtles. His findings were reported in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. The story is titled "Leatherback turtles: The menace of plastic." “We wanted to see if plastics ingestion in leatherbacks was hype or reality,” James told Science Daily. “It was a monumental effort that looked back at necropsies over the last century from all over the world. ... After reviewing the results of 371 necropsies since 1968, we discovered over one third of the turtles had ingested plastic.” The story explains that once leatherbacks ingest plastic -- which they apparently mistake for jellyfish -- "thousands of spines lining the throat and esophagus make it nearly impossible to regurgitate. The plastic can lead to partial or even complete obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in decreased digestive efficiency, energetic and reproductive costs and, for some, starvation." “Plastics ingestion doesn't always cause death, but there are clearly health risks to the turtles,” James said.
Turtles and plastic trash
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