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Gray whale

UN adopts High Seas Treaty to protect the ocean

At the UN 'High Seas Treaty' negotiations in New York, a historic vote for the...

Hopes raised for whale and dolphin protection after last minute landmark nature agreement

WDC's Ed Goodall (far right) at COP15 with Thérèse Coffey (centre) UK Secretary of State...

WDC orca champion picks up award

Beatrice Whishart MSP picks up her Nature Champion award The Scottish Environment LINK, an organisation...

Large number of dolphins moved to Abu Dhabi marine park

Up to 24 captive bottlenose dolphins have reportedly been sent to a new SeaWorld theme...

Microplastics found in brains of crabs is cause for alarm


Researchers at the University of Brighton have carried out the world’s first study into microplastics in the brains of a crustacean species, which could have wider implications for other marine creatures like whales and dolphins.

After feeding polystyrene fluorescent microplastic spheres to mussels, the researchers then fed these mussels to velvet swimming crabs.

The stomach, gills, testes and brains of the crab were sampled one hour, one day, seven days and 21 days after the mussels were consumed. Microplastics were present in all tissues sampled but, whereas the crab’s stomach and gills showed a decrease in in the amount of microplastics over time, the number of microplastics present in the brain remained constant.

The presence of microplastics in the brain has possible implications for a range of behaviours for these creatures, including predator avoidance, foraging and reproduction.

The amount of plastic pollution feeding into rivers and then out to the ocean is a growing problem for marine creatures likes whales and dolphins

The way some feed means that there is the potential for them to take in substantial amounts of microplastic (less than 5mm wide) floating in the water.

Exposure to these plastic-associated toxins poses a major threat to the health of these whales as they can interfere with growth and development, metabolism, and reproduction.

For more on plastic pollution and how you can help visit WDC’S NOTWHALEFOOD site. BE A PLASTIC HERO! Plastic is #NotWhaleFood.

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