Overpopulation of oceanic water striders is disrupting the ocean’s ecosystem according to a new study. The ocean garbage patch is proving to be a breeding ground for the creatures, and it in turn affecting the food web.
The study published in the journal Biology Letters reveals that the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, commonly called the Pacific Garbage Patch, is an island of plastic and other garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists call it the North Pacific Subtropial Gyre. It is said to be as big as the state of Texas in size.
The sea strider (Halobates sericeus) is similar to the pond striders we can see in freshwater lakes. It usually lays its eggs on floating objects in the ocean, like seashells, seabird feathers or pumice.
Now that the garbage patch has become their open breeding area, the increase in number of the creatures directly implies to the fact that there is a dramatic increase in plastic over a relatively short time period.
The study shares concern regarding the future consequences of this. The increase in population of the insects could disrupt the oceanic food web, and this could be a major problem.
The garbage patch itself exhibits low amount of biodiversity. Moreover these insects feed on tiny animals like zooplankton and fish eggs. That might lead to a population hit and change in energy flow in the oceanic biodiversity altogether.