"If it smells like food, and it looks like food, it must be food, right?", Were the statements of the team of researchers from the University of California at Davis, when analyzing the plastic-filled bellies of birds and publishing their study on 9 of November.
Many studies have shown that birds, fish and other marine animals eat plastics. These wastes cause irritation or damage to the digestive system, and "if they remain in the intestine instead of passing, the animal may feel full (of plastic and not food) and this leads to malnutrition or hunger", highlights the Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) of the United States on file.
It is now known that what is actually tricking the birds into being tempted to eat this waste is an olfactory signal. The University of California at Davis noted that these findings could also explain what is happening to other species, including sea turtles.
"Marine plastic debris emits the smell of a sulfurous compound, which some seabirds have trusted for thousands of years to tell them where to find food," says the study developed by Matthew Savoca and Professor Gabrielle Nevitt.
This would also be explaining why the most affected birds are those with a sharper sense of smell to hunt, such as seabirds with tubular noses, including petrels and albatrosses.
First of all, the Savoca and Nevit researchers argued that animals must have a very good reason for the decisions they make and ruled out that eating plastics was a simple mistake.
"If we really want to understand why animals eat plastics in the ocean, we have to think about how animals find their food," said Matthew Savoca.
Then they decided to put nets filled with three types of plastics, taking care that they did not spread in the sea, and tied them to the balls off the coast of California. One had low-density polyethylene, another had high-density polyethylene, and the third had polypropylene. The scientists exposed these plastics to the ocean for three weeks.
The chemical analysis allowed them to corroborate that the plastics collected in the sea reek of a sulfur compound dimethyl sulfide (ASD), which is normally released by the algae, as they cover them.
Years ago, the department of Neurobiology at that university, together with Gabrielle Nevit, established that ASD attracts tube-nosed birds.
“ASD is released when algae are eaten by marine species such as krill, which are one of the favorite foods of birds. Therefore, although the algae do not smell like the food itself, they smell like food that is being eaten, which is equivalent to the sound of the dinner bell, in the version for birds ”, explained the professor.
Petrels, and similar birds, have not been well studied since their burrows are difficult to reach, and there they raise only one chick. Now it is known that they "consume a lot of plastic", and not by chance error, but by an action of the human being, which is leading the species to extinction.
The Epoch Times