There’s a myriad of ways that marine life can traverse the expanse of the oceans, the most fascinating of these is a process called rafting. By growing on and attaching to floating debris such as logs or coconuts, reef corals and other sessile creatures have hitched free rides to far away lands and their respective seas.
But more recently we’ve been able to find evidence of this rafting process on even more durable material, notably the floating plastic which is now ubiquitous in all environments. A freshly published case documented how the Caribbean coral Astrangia was found grown onto a piece of floating polyurethane all the way in Normandy!
Alas the tropical coral was long dead by the time it reached the chilly waters of the North Sea between England and France. But with these new and more abundant rafting opportunities for corals and other marine life we imagine that there will be a lot more ocean-crossing reef creatures being found far from where they are naturally found. [Scientific Naturalist]