Home » INTERNATIONAL MARINE LITTER DATABASE » Year of publication » 2014 » The scariest inhabitant of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not what you think
http://deepseanews.com/2014/05/the-scariest-inhabitant-of-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch-is-not-what-you-think/ POSTED ON MAY 14, 2014 BY MIRIAM GOLDSTEIN The scariest inhabitant of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not what you think When you think of terrifying monsters that might inhabit the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, what do you think of? Mutant sharks? Pissed-off squid? Rabid barnacles? (Well, ok, probably not rabid barnacles.) Nope. The scariest inhabitant of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is this. Meet Halofolliculina. It is a single-celled organism ? a ciliate ? about the size of a sesame seed with teeny tiny devil horns. (They are actually pericytostomial wings, not devil horns, but I won?t tell if you don?t.) My collaborators Hank Carson and Marcus Eriksen found these little buggers living on plastic debris floating way offshore in the western Pacific, which wouldn?t be terrifying in itself since a lot of strange critters live on plastic debris (see our paper for a complete list). But Halofolliculina is a pathogen that causes skeletal eroding band disease in corals, and this piece of debris was headed towards Hawaii.