Tel Aviv University report is first to assess presence of plastic additives in Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea marine life.
A new Tel Aviv University study finds that microplastics — tiny pieces of plastic ingested by aquatic life — are present in solitary ascidians all along the Israeli coastline. Ascidians are sac-like marine invertebrate filter feeders. The research also confirmed the presence of plastic additives, i.e. "plasticizers," in ascidians. Plasticizers are substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity.
The research was led by Prof. Noa Shenkar of the School of Zoology at TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences and The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and published in the January 2019 issue of Marine Pollution Bulletin. The study was conducted in collaboration with Prof. Dror Avisar, Head of the Water Research Center at TAU's Faculty of Exact Sciences, and Aviv Kaplan, a postgraduate student in Prof. Avisar's TAU laboratory.
"This is the first study that examines plastic additive contamination in marine organisms in the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea," says Gal Vered, co-author of the study and a PhD student in Prof. Shenkar's laboratory at TAU.
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