WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- A senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is trying to determine how sea turtles are affected by the plastic they eat.
The StarNews of Wilmington reported (http://bit.ly/WM1Y6f) that senior Misty Wilbanks wants to know if toxins contained in plastics leach into the turtles' digestive systems.
Wilbanks is majoring in marine biology and minoring in chemistry and plans to start work on her master's degree in the fall.
She says there has been considerable research focused on birds that eat plastic, but nothing that focused solely on sea turtles.
She's started her research by testing how toxins leak out of plastic pellets when they are left in digestive liquids collected from dead turtles.