Crafty coastal species are colonising plastics – with potentially devastating results

Persistent human-made debris is providing pelagic habitat for some coastal species. What happens if they make landfall someplace new?

A piece of plastic debris with a crab and other sea creatures on it
Coastal podded hydroid Aglaophenia pluma, an open-ocean crab (Planes genus) and open-ocean gooseneck barnacles (Lepas genus) colonizing a piece of floating debris. Credit: Smithsonian Institution