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Abandoned tires in seabed damaging marine ecosystem by killing hermit crabs
Car tires abandoned on the seabed are damaging the marine ecosystem by killing hermit crabs, according to researchers at Hirosaki University in Aomori Prefecture.
In a report, the research team said discarded tires trap hermit crabs, called ‘cleaners of the ocean, causing slow or even brutal deaths.
Hermit crabs purify water and sand,
Hirosaki University conducted the study after associate professor Atsushi Sogabe found many sea snail shells and hermit crabs in the interior of a discarded tire.
The researchers dropped six tires into the ocean for an experiment, where they found 1,278 hermit crabs finding their way inside the tires in a year.
The researchers noted that none of the hermit crabs was able to come out.
The tires prevented the hermit crabs from leaving the tires in search of larger shells to fit their growing size, as the tires’ recurve kept them stuck inside.
Sogabe explained that when trapped in an environment with poor resources like the tire’s interior, the hermit crabs end up fighting for shells or cannibalizing each other for food,” Sogabe said.
Sogabe says that the issue cannot be ignored and has called for countermeasures as many abandoned tires continue to be found during marine cleanups.