They also noted that the extent to which the tiny plastic particles clump together is also extremely important for understanding particle uptake and the resulting effects in marine organisms.

The three other studies of the group are due out in the near future, with the first of these examining the effect of plastic on lugworms. The fourth publication will report on the group’s research into plastic debris in the stomachs of fish. An analysis of hundreds of fish has shown that 12% have debris in their stomachs. Around half of that debris is plastic.