Microplastics are disturbing aquatic predator-prey systems

Dec 05, 2018, 6:51 AM EST
(Source: Eli Duke/flickr)
(Source: Eli Duke/flickr)

Microplastics are changing the behavior of marine creatures, and this could upset the entire food chain. A study at the National Centre for Scientific Research in northern France found that periwinkle snails lose their ability to sense predator crabs when placed in microplastic-infused water.

The researchers concluded that microplastics, which absorb heavy metals and organic pollutants, interfere with snails’ senses, inhibiting their ability to respond to chemical cues of predators and making them too slow to withdraw into their shells in the face of approaching threat, notes Tree Hugger.

The findings are particularly disturbing as they hold true for any species that relies on picking chemical signals to sense and evade its predators, which threatens to disrupt the delicate predator-prey relationships, reports The Independent.