Microplastics that find their way into the ocean form clumps with biological particles such as plankton and its faeces. The clumps then sink, carrying the plastics down into deep-sea sediments.
Laboratory simulations performed by a team led by Jan Michels from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, in Germany, show that microplastics coated with a biofilm, such as bacteria and microalgae, create an even stickier surface that allows clumps to form at a rapid rate, sending even more to the depths.
Kelly Wong is the social media manager at The Royal Institution of Australia. She has a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Allergy and Immunology, Hons Class I.
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