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Despite the fact that ocean plastic has grown to be a significant environmental problem, a group of scientists recently found that coastal marine invertebrate species are still able to take advantage of this by colonizing floating plastic in the open ocean. Their findings are detailed in a recent study that was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.Examples of coastal podded hydroid Aglaophenia pluma and open-ocean gooseneck barnacle Lepas that thrive on floating plastic have been found in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. (Credit: Smithsonian Institution and The Ocean Cleanup in collaboration.)This finding implies that long-established biogeographical borders between marine habitats are rapidly altering as a result of floating plastic.

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