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In the first study of its kind, an IMAS-led research team estimates that around 570 000 hermit crabs have been killed on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean and Henderson Island in the Pacific after being trapped in plastic debris.
Published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, the study was carried out by researchers who previously revealed that Cocos and Henderson islands are littered with millions of pieces of plastic.
Hermit - Crab - Study - Piles - Pollution
The hermit crab study found that piles of plastic pollution on beaches create both a physical barrier and a series of potentially deadly traps for crabs.
IMAS's Dr. Jennifer Lavers, who led the studies, said that while considerable attention had been given to plastic pollution in the marine environment, little research had been done into the risk that marine pollution poses to wildlife.
Debris - Islands - Plastic - Containers - Hermit
"When we were surveying debris on the islands, I was struck by how many open plastic containers contained hermit crabs, both dead and alive," Dr. Lavers said.
"We decided to do additional surveys across a range of sites of how many containers there were, including how many were open, how many were in a position likely to trap crabs, and how many contained trapped crabs.
Calculations - Hermit - Crabs - Containers - Cocos
"Our calculations show more than 500 000 hermit crabs died from being trapped in containers on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and 60 000 on Henderson island.
"These results are shocking but perhaps not surprising, because beaches and the vegetation that...
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