Scientists Say: Plastisphere
When an ecosystem exists on plastic, it gets a special name
Plastisphere (noun, “PLAS-ti-sfeer”)
This is an ecosystem — a group of living organisms — that makes it home on or in plastic. Most of these organisms tend to be microbes and algae.
In a sentence
The plastic that can float for years on ocean currents will often pick up hitchhikers, creating a plastisphere of microbes and algae.
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ecosystem A group of interacting living organisms — including microorganisms, plants and animals — and their physical environment within a particular climate. Examples include tropical reefs, rainforests, alpine meadows and polar tundra.
plastic Any of a series of materials that are easily deformable; or synthetic materials that have been made from polymers (long strings of some building-block molecule) that tend to be lightweight, inexpensive and resistant to degradation.
plastisphere An ecosystem that has evolved to live on plastic. The organisms in the plastisphere can include microbes and algae, but can also include animals such as mollusks that attach to plastic items.