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Dating: couples base their decision to marry on ‘rituals’ not spontaneous romantic acts, study finds

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dating couples base their decision to marry on rituals not spontaneous romantic acts study finds

Little rituals like weekly date nights or having Sunday dinner with the parents are what dating couples use to decide whether to marry — not grand romantic gestures.

Researchers from the US interviewed dating couples and found that regular, shared experiences are key in allowing partners to get to know each other better.

In contrast, romantic getaways and expensive presents may be exciting — but they offer couples less chance to tell whether they want to spend their life with someone.

In contrast, recurring events like movie nights present twosomes with opportunities to witness each other’s everyday habits and behaviours.

Little rituals like weekly date nights or having Sunday dinner with the parents are what dating couples use to decide whether to marry — not grand romantic gestures

Little rituals like weekly date nights or having Sunday dinner with the parents are what dating couples use to decide whether to marry — not grand romantic gestures

Little rituals like weekly date nights or having Sunday dinner with the parents are what dating couples use to decide whether to marry — not grand romantic gestures

In their study, human development researcher Chris Maniotes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and colleagues surveyed 58 couples in the southwest of the US who had been dating for an average of two-and-a-half years.

The team found that those couples who took part in rituals and routines saw their commitment to marriage rise or fall as a result.

Rituals could be once a year events — such as Christmas, Easter or other holidays — or weekly practices, such as Sunday lunch with a partner’s parents or making Friday evenings ‘movie night’, the researchers explained.

‘Rituals have the power to bond individuals and give us a preview into family life and couple life,’ Mr Maniotes explained.

‘We found they help magnify normative relationship experiences,’ he added

‘Rituals provide a unique time to review one’s partner and relationship; you get to see a host of behaviours and interactions that might normally be obscured.’

‘Some of the ways rituals affected commitment to wed with these couples was by altering their view of their partner, giving them a new perspective.’

In some cases, this meant that couples found common bonds that strengthened their relationship — or, alternatively, revealed areas of conflict that indicated that they were not suited to a life-long commitment to each other. 

Romantic getaways and expensive presents may be exciting — but they offer daters less of a chance to tell whether they want to spend their life with someone. In contrast, recurring events like movie nights (pictured) present couples with opportunities to witness each other's everyday habits and behaviours

Romantic getaways and expensive presents may be exciting — but they offer daters less of a chance to tell whether they want to spend their life with someone. In contrast, recurring events like movie nights (pictured) present couples with opportunities to witness each other's everyday habits and behaviours

Romantic getaways and expensive presents may be exciting — but they offer daters less of a chance to tell whether they want to spend their life with someone. In contrast, recurring events like movie nights (pictured) present couples with opportunities to witness each other’s everyday habits and behaviours

For couples, spending time with the other person’s family is a good way to see how they handle potential conflict and alternative views, for example.

‘Rituals seem to really play a role in pausing and slowing down individuals, helping them take a better look at their relationship. They help them see “this is who we are as a couple; this is who we are as a family.”,’ Maniotes added.

‘Just recognizing the importance of rituals in our lives — and the magnitude of the role they play  can help us integrate them in an intentional way.’ 

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

WHEN YOU SHOULD BREAK UP WITH YOUR PARTNER

Kale Monk, assistant professor of human development and family science at University of Missouri says on-off relationships are associated with higher rates of abuse, poorer communication and lower levels of commitment.

People in these kinds of relationships should make informed decisions about either staying together once and for all or terminating their relationship.

Here are his top five tips to work out whether it’s the right time to end your relationship – 

1. When considering rekindling a relationship that ended or avoiding future breakups, partners should think about the reasons they broke up to determine if there are consistent or persistent issues impacting the relationship.

2. Having explicit conversations about issues that have led to break ups can be helpful, especially if the issues will likely reoccur. If there was ever violence in the relationship, however, or if having a conversation about relationship issues can lead to safety concerns, consider seeking support-services when it is safe to do so.

3. Similar to thinking about the reasons the relationship ended, spend time thinking about the reasons why reconciliation might be an option. Is the reason rooted in commitment and positive feelings, or more about obligations and convenience? The latter reasons are more likely to lead down a path of continual distress.

4. Remember that it is okay to end a toxic relationship. For example, if your relationship is beyond repair, do not feel guilty leaving for your mental or physical well-being.

5. Couples therapy or relationship counselling is not just for partners on the brink of divorce. Even happy dating and married couples can benefit from ‘relationship check-ups’ in order to strengthen the connection between partners and have additional support in approaching relationship transitions.

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Nature: Gorillas are good neighbours and mostly welcome long lost friends

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nature gorillas are good neighbours and mostly welcome long lost friends

Mountain gorillas will gladly greet other groups of the great apes and welcome long-lost friends — providing they don’t encroach on their core territory, a study found.

Researchers from Exeter tracked the movement and interactions of groups of mountain gorillas in Rwanda over a 16-year-period.

They found that gorillas would would welcome familiar groups — even if they hadn’t seen them for a decade — as long as they stayed on the outskirts of their territory.

Gorillas only reacted with real aggression if they did not recognise another group — or if a familiar group strayed too far into their habitat.

Humans have an unrivalled capacity for cooperation based on wide friendships — a tendency experts think evolved to allow shared access to space and resources.

The findings of the new study suggest that the same applies to gorillas, who benefit from maintaining friendships beyond their close circle.

Mountain gorillas will gladly greet other groups of the great apes and welcome long-lost friends — providing they don't encroach on their core territory, a study found

Mountain gorillas will gladly greet other groups of the great apes and welcome long-lost friends — providing they don't encroach on their core territory, a study found

Mountain gorillas will gladly greet other groups of the great apes and welcome long-lost friends — providing they don’t encroach on their core territory, a study found

Mountain gorillas — which spend most of their time in tight-knit communities, foraging, resting and sleeping — divide their territory between a core ‘home range’ and a wider ‘peripheral range’

Groups can sometimes split up, however — and closely related gorillas which may have lived together for years can end up separated and in different groups.

‘Meetings of groups are fairly rare, and at first both groups are usually cautious,’ said paper author and gorilla expert Robin Morrison of the University of Exeter.

‘They often beat their chests and show off their strength, but the interaction can then either become aggressive, with fighting and screaming — or “affiliative”.’ 

‘In affiliative interactions, the initial tension passes and the groups intermingle,’ explained Dr Morrison.

‘They may rest together, and younger gorillas will often play with youngsters from the other group.’

In their study, Dr Morrison and colleagues analysed the movement and interactions of 17 mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park over 16 years.

Gorillas were four times more likely to be friendly if they were familiar with the intruding individuals — even if they had not seen each other for more than ten years, the researchers found.

They only became aggressive if the familiar group strayed into their core territory, but were happy to share the periphery.

In their study, Dr Morrison and colleagues analysed the movement and interactions of 17 mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park over 16 years

In their study, Dr Morrison and colleagues analysed the movement and interactions of 17 mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park over 16 years

In their study, Dr Morrison and colleagues analysed the movement and interactions of 17 mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park over 16 years

‘The pattern we found mirrors what we see in humans,’ said Dr Morrison. 

‘We also have concepts of public spaces outside our “range” where we tolerate anyone — spaces like our homes where we tolerate certain individuals and private spaces within those homes reserved for close family or just ourselves.’

In the periphery, heightened aggression was only shown towards less familiar gorilla groups, the researchers found.

A better understanding of these behavioural patterns could aid conservation efforts to preserve the endangered apes. 

‘Mountain gorillas have less than 800 square kilometres of habitat remaining,’ paper author and gorilla programme manager Jean Paul Hirwa added.

‘As a result of extreme conservation efforts, the population has been growing over the last 30 years, while their habitat has not.’

‘Understanding how groups interact and share their limited space is important for estimating future population dynamics and trends in this endangered species.’

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Animal Ecology

In their study, Dr Morrison and colleagues analysed the movement and interactions of 17 mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park over 16 years

In their study, Dr Morrison and colleagues analysed the movement and interactions of 17 mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park over 16 years

In their study, Dr Morrison and colleagues analysed the movement and interactions of 17 mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park over 16 years

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Water on the moon could support human colony, says NASA

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water on the moon could support human colony says nasa

NASA has today confirmed, for the first time, that there is water on the sunlit surface of the moon.

The revelation means it is possible water is easily accessible and not just in the deep, permanently shadowed craters of the south pole, as was previously thought. 

A separate piece of research found these so-called ‘cold traps’, which are always in shadow, may contain up to 15,000 square miles (40,000 square km) of water.  

The discovery means future missions to the moon could be prolonged by making use of these water molecules which are scattered across the moon.  

Astronauts could use the natural resource, which may have arrived via comets or solar winds, and turn it into oxygen or drinking water to sustain a future colony.

Scientists also say the water could be used to make rocket fuel, lightening missions and slashing mission costs to make interplanetary space travel easier and cheaper.    

Previously, researchers speculated water was only present in cold traps and were unable to prove it was water and not a similar molecule called hydroxyl, which is found in drain cleaner.  

NASA has today announced that there is up to 15,000 square miles of frozen water on the moon

NASA has today announced that there is up to 15,000 square miles of frozen water on the moon

NASA has today announced that there is up to 15,000 square miles of frozen water on the moon

The NASA-backed research used a converted Boeing 747 that cruises around Earth above the clouds at an altitude of around 41,000ft called Sofia

The NASA-backed research used a converted Boeing 747 that cruises around Earth above the clouds at an altitude of around 41,000ft called Sofia

The NASA-backed research used a converted Boeing 747 that cruises around Earth above the clouds at an altitude of around 41,000ft called Sofia

The NASA research used a converted Boeing 747 that cruises around Earth above the clouds at an altitude of more than 41,000ft called Sofia. 

It was tasked with clarifying findings published in 2009 which discovered molecular hydrogen and oxygen on the surface of the moon. 

However, due to the nature of the decade-old analysis, astronomers were unable to say whether or not it was water (H2O) or hydroxyl (OH) compounds, the chemical found in drain cleaner, due to the similarity in their chemical signature. 

Dr Nick Tothill, a physicist at Western Sydney University, who was not involved in the research, said: ‘The problem was that the water ice signature that was found before was really just telling us that there were oxygen and hydrogen atoms bound together. 

‘On the Earth, this is mainly water, but on the Moon, you can’t be so sure.’

The issue was a limitation of the equipment that used a wavelength of three micrometres, which is unable to tell apart hydroxyl minerals from water. 

Sofia, short for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is equipped with a unique six micrometre sensor that detects ‘a fundamental vibration of molecular water’ that is completely unique to water. 

The Sofia study found the water molecules in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere.  

By detecting this, it is conclusive and indubitable proof of water on the sunlit surface of the moon, NASA says. 

‘We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,’ said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 

‘Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.’ 

NASA has now found molecular water on the surface of the moon in the Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon's southern hemisphere using Sofia, a telescope inside an adapted Boeing 747

NASA has now found molecular water on the surface of the moon in the Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon's southern hemisphere using Sofia, a telescope inside an adapted Boeing 747

NASA has now found molecular water on the surface of the moon in the Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere using Sofia, a telescope inside an adapted Boeing 747 

In the paper, the researchers, led by Dr Casey Honniball from the University of Hawaiʻi, say that water around the south pole of the moon is relatively abundant, at around 100 to 400 parts per million

In the paper, the researchers, led by Dr Casey Honniball from the University of Hawaiʻi, say that water around the south pole of the moon is relatively abundant, at around 100 to 400 parts per million

In the paper, the researchers, led by Dr Casey Honniball from the University of Hawaiʻi, say that water around the south pole of the moon is relatively abundant, at around 100 to 400 parts per million

First ever space ‘petrol station’ will be built in the UK and orbit the Moon 

The first ever space ‘petrol station’ will be built in the UK as part of a project to support upcoming NASA missions to the Moon.

Aerospace manufacturer Thales Alenia Space will construct the chemical refuelling station, which will be launched into space in 2027, at its three UK sites – in Bristol, Belfast and Oxfordshire. 

The station will refuel the Lunar Gateway – a space station that will orbit the Moon and serve as a communication hub and science laboratory – with xenon and other chemical propellants. 

The petrol station will be launched full of propellant to refuel the Lunar Gateway’s orbit control systems.

When the petrol station runs out of fuel, space tankers, launched from Earth, will replenish the station’s tanks.  

Each refilling of the tanks will allow enough fuel to keep the station orbiting the moon for several years, according to the UK Space Agency. 

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Dr Themiya Nanayakkara, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology, comments on the research.

‘Honniball and collaborators have now targeted a much higher wavelength feature at 6µm using data from the SOFIA observatory,’ he says.

He goes on to explain that Sofia is a modified Boeing 747 with a massive hole that fits in a 2.5-meter mirror. 

‘They find spectral signatures that can only be explained by molecular water on the Moon,’ he says. 

In the paper, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the researchers say that water around the south pole of the moon is relatively abundant, at around 100 to 400 parts per million, equivalent to a 12-ounce (360ml) bottle of water – trapped in a cubic meter of soil. 

This is about 100 times drier than the Sahara desert, NASA says.  

‘We haven’t found a fountain or lake on the moon, the water density is very low, it is confined to the poles, and is likely trapped in glasses or rocks on the surface,’ warns Dr Ben Montet from the University of New South Wales.  

The second scientific paper released today looks at where water is most likely to be found on the moon’s surface. 

It adds to previous research which found that cold traps are well suited for preserving water ice. 

Also known as topographic depressions, they benefit from a quirk of the moon’s physics, which is also a feature of Mercury and the asteroid Ceres. 

All three are tilted on their axis and as a result the shadow created from their craters leaves some areas permanently in the shade. 

In these areas, temperatures can plummet as low as -163.15°C/-261.67°F due to the lack of sunlight, hence the frigid moniker assigned by astronomers.     

NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. 

NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the Moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 –  including the first woman and the next man.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. 

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  

Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond. 

During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.

It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week mission. 

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before. 

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars. 

The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.

The SLS rocket will from an initial configuration capable of sending more than 26 metric tons to the Moon, to a final configuration that can send at least 45 metric tons. 

Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.

Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.

The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy. 

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Future missions to the south pole of the moon could be refuelled at a base camp, as proposed by the NASA Artemis mission, using the moonwater. Pictured, NASA impression of Artemis astronauts on the surface of Moon

Future missions to the south pole of the moon could be refuelled at a base camp, as proposed by the NASA Artemis mission, using the moonwater. Pictured, NASA impression of Artemis astronauts on the surface of Moon

Future missions to the south pole of the moon could be refuelled at a base camp, as proposed by the NASA Artemis mission, using the moonwater. Pictured, NASA impression of Artemis astronauts on the surface of Moon

Dr Paul Hayne from the University of Colorado, Boulder led a project that tried to determine just how many of these there are and how much water they may contain. 

His team used theoretical modelling and data from the Lunar Renaissance Orbiter (LRO) to piece this puzzle together.  

They vary enormously in size, the researchers say, with some as large as one kilometre in diameter and some just one centimetre in width. 

Up to a fifth of all water ice believed to be trapped in these spots is thought to be in the tiniest of the craters, the researchers say. 

More than half (60 per cent) of the cold traps are in the south and the majority are at latitudes in excess of 80 degrees because ‘permanent shadows equatorward of 80° are typically too warm to support ice accumulation’, the researchers write. 

In total, they speculate up to 40,000 square kilometres of water ice exists in the cold traps, the same as twice the contents of Lake Ontario.  

Dr Tothill says: ‘Taken together, these papers tell us that there really is water ice on the moon, and it’s probably widespread over both polar regions – with a bit more in the south. 

Tardigrades were left on the MOON by Israel’s Beresheet probe crash 

Tardigrades are regraded as Earth’s hardiest animal and can withstand the most brutal conditions known to man – and now thousands of them are the moon.

Experts say it is impossible to know if the durable animals — often dubbed ‘moss piglets’ or ‘water bears’ — will be able to withstand the barren landscape and harsh conditions of the lunar surface.  

Israel’s Beresheet mission hoped to send a host of scientific instruments to the lunar surface and alongside them, safely packed away, was a treasure trove of information and a smattering of the ‘water bears’.

They formed part of the ‘Lunar Library’ project masterminded by serial entrepreneur Nova Spivack.

It hoped to use the Beresheet mission as the first step towards creating a ‘Earth back-up’ composed of all of mankind’s knowledge.

As part of this quest, Spivack sent human DNA, 30 million pages of information and a host of tardigrades along on the doomed craft.

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‘This in turn tells us how and where to look for water on the moon, with either robot or human explorers.’ 

While this research confirms long-held theories, astronomers have been acting on these suspicions for a long time. 

NASA, for example, banked on finding water and plans to build a base camp at the moon’s south pole. Israel’s failed Beresheet mission also had a similar thought process.

Before a crash landing, it had intended to touch down in the lowland area of Mare Serenitatis. This area gave off a distinct signal indicating water is present there. 

Thousands of dried tardigrades were secretly sent on this mission and these creatures are known as being the hardiest creatures in the world. 

They can be revived by water, survive UV rays and Israel hoped to see if they would survive on the moon. 

‘But we don’t have to worry that tardigrades are now running around the Moon,’ says Alice Gorman of Flinders University, a leading space archaeologist. 

‘They’re encased in resin, and the water is most likely trapped inside glasses formed by micrometeorite impacts.’  

The discovery, which was tantalisingly teased by NASA last week, has significant implications for future space missions to our natural satellite. 

Dr Jonti Horner from the University of Southern Queensland calls the research ‘definitely exciting’. 

He says future missions to the south pole of the moon could be refuelled at a base camp, as proposed by the NASA Artemis mission, using the moonwater.    

But the implications are far more significant than that, experts say. 

Instead of simply refuelling and returning to Earth, the presence of moonwater , and therefore lower costs for return trips, also open the door for interplanetary missions.

‘To launch a litre bottle of water from Earth to the Moon costs $35,000 – almost the same cost as if we just made that bottle solid gold, says Professor Alan Duffy, lead scientist of The Royal Institution of Australia.

‘But by accessing it directly from the Moon itself we turn our celestial neighbour into a resupply as well as a refuelling station.

‘Water can directly support astronauts on a planned Moon-base, used to grow food on long-duration missions to Mars, and even split into literal rocket fuel for powering our satellites and rockets across the Solar System. ‘

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Fish living in microplastic infected waters are SIX times more likely to die

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fish living in microplastic infected waters are six times more likely to die

Fish that accidentally eat microplastics are six times more likely to die than those which don’t, a study has revealed.

Scientists have found that fish raised in waters polluted with the tiny pieces of plastic are bolder, more active and have lower survival rates than fish that live in normal water.

The effects are so pronounced that fcScroll down for video  

Researchers raised damselfish (pictured) in microplastic polluted waters then placed them on live or dead-degraded coral patches. They found those reared on microplastics or released into dead corals were bolder, more active, and had lower survival than controls

Researchers raised damselfish (pictured) in microplastic polluted waters then placed them on live or dead-degraded coral patches. They found those reared on microplastics or released into dead corals were bolder, more active, and had lower survival than controls

Researchers raised damselfish (pictured) in microplastic polluted waters then placed them on live or dead-degraded coral patches. They found those reared on microplastics or released into dead corals were bolder, more active, and had lower survival than controls

Previous studies had established that microplastic particles, pictured, can be ingested by humans and animals ¿ such as via drinking water ¿ and pass through the gastrointestinal tract

Previous studies had established that microplastic particles, pictured, can be ingested by humans and animals ¿ such as via drinking water ¿ and pass through the gastrointestinal tract

Previous studies had established that microplastic particles, pictured, can be ingested by humans and animals — such as via drinking water — and pass through the gastrointestinal tract

Researchers say they don’t believe this is due to any toxic effects the plastic has on the fish.

But it could be that the microplastics make them hungrier, and this ‘nutritional stress’ makes them more likely to take risks going out to find food.

As a result of this more risky behaviour, they are more likely to be eaten by predators.

Bottle-fed babies swallow MILLIONS of microplastic particles every day from their bottles  

Babies around the world are exposed to millions of microplastic particles a day which are produced during the preparation of formula milk, a study has found. 

British babies swallow more than infants in other parts of the world, with around three million fibres released from a bottle every day.  

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin found that polypropylene bottles release these fibres when exposed to extreme heat, such as from boiling water. 

Shaking the bottle to mix formula milk worsens the microplastic shedding, the research found. 

34577696 0 image a 26 1603818797174

34577696 0 image a 26 1603818797174

By the age of six months British infants fed on formula using bottles with polypropylene are exposed to an estimated three million microplastic particles every day

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The team from James Cook University in Australia predicted that microplastic consumption might produce a ‘starvation’ effect within the affected fish.

During their study, they captured juvenile fish from the Great Barrier Reef and pulse-fed some of them polystyrene microplastics for four days before releasing them back into their natural habitat.

Their behaviour was monitored for three days, to see if the microplastics had any effect.

Results, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reveal that the fish who had been exposed to the microplastics became more risk-prone and strayed further from shelter than the normal fish.

The analysis also revealed that 90 per cent of the fish that had been exposed to microplastics died during the three-day monitoring period after they had been re-released into the wild.

The study reads: ‘Fish that had a history of exposure to microplastics exhibited six times lower survival than those that had not been exposed to microplastics.

‘Fish exposed to microplastics moved further from shelter and took more risks, exposing themselves to the predators that have high feeding rates and are highly selective for junior fish that stray from shelter.

‘Exposure to microplastics for a relatively short duration is enough to alter their behaviour and survival.’ The authors add that the consumption of microplastics had as much of a detrimental impact on fish as living on a dead coral reef would.

Another recent study revealed that microplastics have been found in human organs after they die, which experts believe may get into our system after eating fish and drinking water from bottles.

The Daily Mails Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign is calling for more action to tackle the crisis.

WHAT CAN MICROPLASTICS DO TO THE HUMAN BODY IF THEY END UP IN OUR FOOD SUPPLY?

According to an article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, our understanding of the potential human health effects from exposure to microplastics ‘constitutes major knowledge gaps.’ 

Humans can be exposed to plastic particles via consumption of seafood and terrestrial food products, drinking water and via the air. 

However, the level of human exposure, chronic toxic effect concentrations and underlying mechanisms by which microplastics elicit effects are still not well understood enough in order to make a full assessment of the risks to humans.

According to Rachel Adams, a senior lecturer in Biomedical Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University, ingesting microplastics could cause a number of potentially harmful effects, such as: 

  • Inflammation: when inflammation occurs, the body’s white blood cells and the substances they produce protect us from infection. This normally protective immune system can cause damage to tissues. 
  • An immune response to anything recognised as ‘foreign’ to the body: immune responses such as these can cause damage to the body. 
  • Becoming carriers for other toxins that enter the body: microplastics generally repel water and will bind to toxins that don’t dissolve, so microplastics can bind to compounds containing toxic metals such as mercury, and organic pollutants such as some pesticides and chemicals called dioxins, which are known to causes cancer, as well as reproductive and developmental problems. If these microplastics enter the body, toxins can accumulate in fatty tissues. 
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