The Plastisphere, Marine Snow and Ocean Plastics | UC Davis

MBL Fellow Linda Amaral-Zettler and colleagues coined the term "Plastisphere" to describe the microbial communities living on marine microplastics. Credit: Getty Images

I run across all sorts of interesting phrases in my work as an environmental science writer. For our story about “How Pathogens Can Hitch a Ride on Plastic to Reach the Sea,” two new-to-me phrases caught my ear: Marine snow, and the Plastisphere.

So what are they?

The Plastisphere

The Plastisphere is a diverse microbial community living on bits of plastic floating in the ocean. These communities are distinct from the surrounding water, suggesting that plastic serves as its own habitat in the ocean. The term was coined in 2013 by scientists from Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Sea Education Association. Read rest of the article here.

Source: The Plastisphere, Marine Snow and Ocean Plastics | UC Davis