Museum calls on public to help identify exotic species washed up on plastic litter
Welsh museum experts are warning that species which threaten marine life are being carried to the coasts of Britain and Ireland on plastic litter.
© National Museum of Wales
Six types of bivalve, washed up from the south-east coast of the US, could out-compete natives such as scallops and the edible oyster for food and shelter.
One of the hitch-hikers, the Isognomon bicolor known more informally as the two-coloured purse oyster, has previously invaded Brazil and the Caribbean from Florida.
© Brocken Inaglory / Wikimedia Commons
“Last July the UK recorded a sea temperature of 20°C in Cornwall,” says Anna Holmes, of National Museums Wales, who believes an “unusually large” amount of plastic waste, recorded since the winter storms of 2013, could have damaging effects.
“If the temperature continues to rise, some of these and other tropical visitors could become established in British seas and threaten our native wildlife.”
© Hectonichus / Wikimedia Commons
The bivalve species require a sea temperature of between 22 and 26°C to reproduce.
- The public can report any live bivalves, crabs or barnacles attached to plastic litter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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