Marine debris ingestion and Thayer's law – The importance of plastic color

Marine debris ingestion and Thayer's law – The importance of plastic color

Below, an interesting Brazilian study on the perception of plastic colors by marine animals.

Kahi Pacarro from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, told us during our Odyssey stopover in O'ahu, that he thinks a lot of fish could mistake red plastic fragments instead of shrimps due to the color, it could explain why we do not find a lot of red plastic fragments on beaches, this study seems to be right with his opinion, and you what do you think ?

 

Robson G. Santosa, Ryan Andradesa, Lorena M. Fardima & Agnaldo Silva Martinsa, 2016. Marine debris ingestion and Thayer's law – The importance of plastic color. Environmental Pollution, Volume 214, July 2016, Pages 585–588.

Abstract

"In recent years marine plastic pollution has gained considerable attention as a significant threat to marine animals. Despite the abundant literature related to marine debris ingestion, only a few studies attempted to understand the factors involved in debris ingestion. Plastic ingestion is commonly attributed to visual similarities of plastic fragments to animal's prey items, such as plastic bags and jellyfish. However, this simple explanation is not always coherent with the variety of debris items ingested and with the species' main prey items. We assess differences in the conspicuousness of plastic debris related to their color using Thayer's law to infer the likelihood that visual foragers detect plastic fragments. We hypothesize that marine animals that perceive floating plastic from below should preferentially ingest dark plastic fragments, whereas animals that perceive floating plastic from above should select for paler plastic fragments."

Keywords : Anthropogenic debris; Plastic ingestion; Plastic pollution; Sea turtles; Seabirds; Thayer's law.