+
upworthy
Science

A giant garbage patch floating in the ocean has become home to hundreds of sea creatures

Multiple species of marine life have been discovered surviving on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that floats between California and Hawaii.

great pacific garbage patch
Image via Unsplash

Plastic floating in the ocean

“Life finds a way” might be a line from a movie, but it’s the perfect way to describe the very real resilience of nature.

Take for example an enormous 620,000 square mile build-up of trash floating in the ocean between California and Hawaii, which has miraculously become a floating home to a myriad of sea creatures, otherwise known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Swirling ocean currents called gyres act as whirlpools sucking in piles and piles of litter into condensed areas, and the debris collects in patches in the center of the gyre. Though there are five of these garbage patches across the globe, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—made of trash from countries in Asia and North and South America—contains the most plastic, according to USA Today.

In a new study published in the "Nature Ecology & Evolution Journal," a team of researchers revealed that dozens of species of invertebrate organisms that normally dwell on coastlines had been able to survive and reproduce on the floating garbage. Animals like crustaceans, sea anemones, mollusks and worms, oh my! Fishing nets, which make up nearly half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, held the highest diversity of these coastal critters.

"It was surprising to see how frequent the coastal species were," Linsey Haram, a science fellow at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the study's lead author, told CNN. "They were on 70% of the debris that we found.”

Creatures already known to live in the open ocean were also thriving on the plastic garbage, Haram told NPR. And more often than not, researchers saw the unlikely neighbors living together on the same piece of trash, with diversity of all organisms being highest on rope.

Of course, the findings of the study highlight possible negative consequences. Not only are the two species competing for food and space (and likely eating each other), there’s risk of these coastal animals becoming invasive species, as more and more learn to travel on wayward debris.

This is why, despite how nature is nature-ing, a huge overhaul of plastic use on multiple levels is still crucial. Another study published in March 2023 said that without urgent policy action, the rate at which plastics enter aquatic environments could increase by around 2.6 times between 2016 and 2040.

Luckily, actions are being taken. The UN Environment Assembly passed a landmark resolution in 2022 to end plastic pollution and create the world’s first global plastic pollution treaty by 2024. The agreement would address the full life cycle of plastic, from its production and design to its disposal.

Elsewhere, organizations have come up with innovative strategies for large scale trash collection. The Ocean Cleanup, for example, has created a net-like barrier known as a trash fence that acts as a trash collecting dam, preventing debris from moving from rivers to the ocean in the first place.

Animals clearly have a knack for evolving and adapting to help their species overcome. Hopefully, we humans can take a page from their book and make necessary changes in order to survive.

Grandma shows granddaughter shorthand

Grandparents can be a wealth of history and knowledge. But one TikTok user, Reagan Jones, was blown away by her grandmother's ability to write in shorthand, so she did what a lot of people do in this century—uploaded it to TikTok. Not surprisingly, most people who viewed the video had no idea what shorthand was and some thought the whole thing was made up. The reaction to it certainly makes you question if it's more than a lost art, but a forgotten part of history.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Watch a rescued beaver meticulously build an indoor 'dam' out of random household items

Sawyer's ongoing struggle with SpongeBob SquarePants' legs is a must-see.

Sawyer checks her work once in a while as she builds her hallway dam.

The fact that beavers build dams is one of nature's coolest features. Gathering and stacking tree branches, rocks, grass and mud across a river so they can build their homes underwater is a unique instinct among the animals—and a strong one.

Apparently, it's so strong that beavers will build dams anywhere, including inside a human's house using whatever items they can find.

A video shared by Dr. Holley Muraco, director of research at the Mississippi Aquarium, shows a female beaver named Sawyer busily gathering stuffed animals, blankets, Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and more to build a dam in a hallway, and it's seriously the most delightful thing ever.

Keep ReadingShow less

A ship crusing beautiful blue waters

Living permanently on a cruise ship seems like a dream of the uber-wealthy. You spend your days lounging on the deck by the pool or touring an exotic location. Nights are spent dancing in the nightclub or enjoying live entertainment.

You no longer have to worry about traffic, cooking or laundry. Your life has become all-inclusive as long as you’re on board.

At Upworthy, we’ve shared the stories of a handful of people who’ve been able to spend their lives on a permanent cruise because they’ve figured out how to do so affordably. Or, at least, at about the same cost of living on land.

Insider recently featured the fantastic story of Ryan Gutridge, who spends about 300 nights a year living on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. He only leaves the ship for a few weeks a year during the holidays.

Keep ReadingShow less

TikTok user Absolutely Lauren catches an online scammer.

There was a massive jump in credit card fraud in America in 2021 due to the pandemic. According to CNET, fraud involving credit cards jumped 69% from 2020 to 2021, affecting 13 million Americans and costing $9 billion.

In a world where online transactions are part of everyday life, it’s hard to completely protect your information. But, by staying vigilant and monitoring your accounts you can report fraud before it gets out of hand.

A TikTok user by the name of Lauren (@absolutelylauren) from San Diego, California, got a notification that there was a $135 charge on her card at Olaplex’s online store that she hadn’t made. Olaplex sells products that repair excessively damaged hair. Before reporting the charge to her credit card company she asked her family members if they used her card by mistake.

“I don’t wanna shut my card down if it’s just my mom ordering some shampoo,” Lauren said in the video. “Definitely not my two younger brothers, they’ve got good hair but they don’t color it.”

Keep ReadingShow less
via Merkur.de

MRI image of an opera singer, singing.

A great opera voice is a learned art, not a natural-born gift like other styles of singing. It takes discipline, physical training, and to truly wow the audience, the performer must be a great actor and athlete as well.

"Singing opera is to ordinary vocal activity what distance running, triple-jumping and pole-vaulting are to ordinary exercise," said Sir Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera House wrote for the BBC. "Which means that singers and, almost as important, those who teach them are locked in the same kinds of relationship that obtain between elite athletes and charismatic coaches."

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

What to do when you're the child of an alcoholic

My dad was an addict, and growing up with him taught me a lot.

Photo with permission from writer Ashley Tieperman.

Ashley Tieperman and her father.


There was never just one moment in my family when we “found out" that my dad was an addict.

I think I always knew, but I never saw him actually drinking. Usually, he downed a fifth of vodka before he came home from work or hid tiny bottles in the garage and bathroom cabinets.

Keep ReadingShow less