For a brief moment at the start of their lives, fish from different ocean ecosystems live side by side in gigantic fish nurseries, where surface waters converge and the prey is abundant.
Prey isn’t the only thing that’s abundant here. According to a paper published in PNAS this week, the same currents that make these regions appealing as nurseries mean that they’re awash with plastics. The consequences for commercial fisheries and the ocean's food webs are difficult to discern but could be significant.
Oceanographer Jamison Gove and his colleagues set out to understand more about how the features of the ocean affect the survival of larval fish—crucial information for the world’s fisheries. They didn’t expect to find a soup of microplastics in what looked like clear water.