Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Adaptation or plastic pollution? Not really a question!

All species of hermit crabs must find their shells and the Caribbean terrestrial hermit crabs seemingly prefer the shells from Turbo, a type of snail.  On the remote Caye in Belize where our field course is based there are not many Turbo shells.  But, since the Caye was hit by a hurricane a year ago, there is a LOT of plastic pollution.  

This little fella found a piece of plastic to use as it's shell. 

Adaptive behavior?  Perhaps; as it grows it will shed it for a larger shell which hopefully won't be plastic!

A tragic sign of our times?  Certainly.  The plastic pollution comes from humans after all and marine life is being killed by it.  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a result of human trash getting into the ocean and this plastic (and chemical) trash has only deleterious effects on marine life.  

We can do something about this!  Check out the Plastic Pollution Coalition and do your best to reduce, reuse, recycle and refuse plastics when out shopping.  The crabs may not be happy but the rest of the marine life will.

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