Ocean life is at risk from microplastics. The pollution contains traces of toxic chemicals and metals. New research reveals the impact they have on coral.

Researchers from Germany’s University Giessen discovered that up to 4 million pounds of microplastics could be found in coral skeletons each year.

The research also revealed that nearly 33% of toxic chemicals are found in shallow tropical waters, where corals flourish.

Microplastics are believed to be food by corals. This can lead to tissue necrosis and bleaching in living organisms. 

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Microplastics are a danger to ocean life, as the pollution carries traces of metals and toxic chemicals and a new study reveals their impact on coral. Right is the coral and left shows its skeleton with pieces of tiny plastic attached to it

The threat to marine life from microplastics is that the polluted water carries metal traces and other toxic chemicals. A new study has revealed their harmful effects on coral. The right side shows the coral. To its left is its skeleton, which has tiny pieces of plastic attached.

Jessica Reichert is the main author.

The world has 24.4 trillion pieces worth of microplastics. They are estimated to weigh up to 578,000 tonnes.

Previous studies show that only 1,656 rivers are responsible for 80 percent of manmade materials in the world. The highest production regions, Asia and West Africa, have the largest.

While it is well-known that corals can be affected by pollutants, this study by University of Giessen shows how. 

A team of scientist from the University Giessen in Germany found up to four million pounds of microplastics may be stored in coral skeletons every year. Black areas are microplastics attached to the coral's skeleton

Researchers from Germany’s University Giessen discovered that coral skeletons could contain up to 4 million pounds each year of microplastics. Microplastics are attached to coral skeletons in black areas

Corals consume microplastics thinking they are food, which can cause bleaching and tissue necrosis in the living organisms

Corals mistakenly consume microplastics as food. This can lead to tissue necrosis and bleaching in living organisms.

ScienceNews reported that Reichert’s colleagues exposed corals to microplastics in a laboratory to find out where marine animals keep the small pieces of plastic.

After 18 months of exposure, the team found most of the pollutants sat inside the corals’ skeletons rather than tissues, according to the study published in Global Change Biology. 

According to the study, particles were detected 15 times more often in coral skeletons that in tissues.

‘This shows that the coral tissue is likely only a temporary sink before particles are egested or permanently translocated to the skeleton.’ 

The researchers estimated that approximately 6 to 7 quadrillion particles of microplastic could be trapped in corals every year by counting their number. 

“We don’t know what this will mean.” [storage]Possibly for the coral species. [or for]Reichert stated that the reef’s stability and integrity is important to him. The’might be an additional threat for coral reefs throughout the globe.

Coral reefs are vital to the oceans and humans, as the marine invertebrates protect coastlines from storms and erosions, but numerous studies have found these creatures are slowly disappearing from the Earth

As marine invertebrates help protect coasts from erosion and storms, coral reefs are essential for the oceans as well as humans. But, numerous studies have shown that they are gradually disappearing.

Coral reefs are vital to the oceans and humans, as the marine invertebrates protect coastlines from  storms and erosions, but numerous studies have found these creatures are slowly disappearing from the Earth.

Another recent study, published in September, found coral reef cover has diminished in size by more than half since the 1950s due to, overfishing, pollution and other human impacts

According to the team, coral reef loss has caused a reduction of ecosystem services and an equivalent loss of fish biodiversity and biomass.

The continued destruction of the global reef system has been warned by experts. This will result in the decline of the development and well-being of the coastal communities that depend on it.


Scientists studying river pollution have found that urban flooding has caused microplastics in our oceans to move faster than we thought.

Greater Manchester waterways have been so affected by microplastics in recent years that every drop of water is contaminated.

Researchers discovered that this pollution contributes significantly to ocean contamination. This was part of the initial catchment-wide study.

These debris, including microfibres and microbeads, are harmful to ecosystems.

Researchers tested over 40 locations in Manchester, and discovered that all of the waterways contained small amounts of toxic material.

Microplastics include microbeads (microfibres), microfibres (microplastics) and small plastic pieces.

They have been well-known for entering river systems via multiple sources, including storm water drains and industrial effluent.

However, it is believed that around 90% of the microplastic pollution in the oceans comes from land. Not much information is available about how they move.

Researchers from Manchester found that most rivers contained around 517,000 pieces of plastic per square meter, as per the study.

After a time of severe flooding, researchers did a resampling at each site.

They discovered that contamination levels had dropped at most of them and that flooding had destroyed about 70% of the microplastics on the riverbeds.

These floods can result in large amounts of microplastics being transferred from cities to the oceans.