Water pollution affected the creatures living in the deep-sea trenches of the Pacific Ocean.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Knowing little about the deep-ocean trenches seems to be to our disadvantage once again because only recently have the scientists discovered that these ecosystems were also affected by pollution. A group of experts from the Newcastle University and the University of Aberdeen has conducted a comprehensive survey on crustaceans living over six miles in the depths of the ocean.
They chose to study the creatures living in the Mariana Trench because it is the deepest part of the ocean with a depth of roughly ten miles. The researchers found that those shrimps had elevated levels of pollutants.
It is important to mention that these pollutants were banned some time ago because they could cause cancer. According to Alan Jamieson, one of the co-authors of the study, there is a common misconception among people that the deepest parts of the ocean belong to a pristine and remote realm, safe from any human harm.
Nevertheless, the new study has clearly shown the opposite. The pollutants found in the bodies of the crustaceans originated from dead animals and plastic waste. Stuart Piertney, a co-author from the University of Aberdeen, explain that these pollutants do not like water, so they usually stick to sinking animals or objects, such as plastic.
As such, they end up on the ocean floor sending toxic chemicals towards the surface affecting every living creature along the way, including the crustaceans involved in the study. The team built a special underwater lander with which they managed to collect several crustaceans known as amphipods living on the bottom of Kermadec Trench and Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.
After analyzing the amphipods, the team established that their bodies contained elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. The United States government banned those toxic chemicals approximately four decades ago.
Because of these pollutants, many Americans died of cancer, whereas others developed severe hormone-related disorders. Many marine biologists say that most countries focus on finding out more about the moon, the sun, and other planets, so they invest a lot of money in research.
On the other hand, the oceans hide so many secrets. These experts stress that there are still many things to discover about the deep-sea trenches towards which the governments worldwide should move their attention.