Online talk with Johanna Weston, Newcastle University
6000 metres beneath the surface of the Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean is very remote. However, this remoteness does not shield organisms from anthropogenic pollution. In March 2020, a new species of scavenging amphipod was described – Eurythenes plasticus. We named it ‘plasticus’ as because one individual was found to have a piece of microplastic, 84% similar to PET, in its hindgut. This represents the ninth species of Eurythenes, and it appears to be endemic to 6010 – 6949 m in the Mariana Trench. Together with the WWF, we hope that Eurythenes plasticus helps people connect their actions on land with impacts to life the deep ocean.
Johanna is passionate about deep-sea amphipods and how they help us understand the ecology of the hadal zone. She can be found looking down a microscope on land or at sea counting, sorting, and identifying species. She also will happily extract DNA from their heads to help identify and gain insights about connectivity between remote locations.
Watch this talk from the comfort of home on the NHSN Youtube Channel, premiering Friday, 20 November at 18.29.