A tiny shrimp with a big warning

How the name of a newly discovered species became a message about the extent of plastic pollution.

When scientists found a new species of sea creature living seven kilometres down near the Mariana Trench in the Philippines, they were alarmed to discover plastic pollution in its body. While the problem of ocean plastic pollution is widely acknowledged, it clearly went deeper and further than anyone had realized. To draw attention to their discovery, in March this year the scientists gave the shrimp-like creature a pertinent name: eurythenes plasticus. For the WWF, the little amphipod became a global ambassador for the fight against marine plastic pollution, via a multi-platform campaign deploying posters, PR and digital, as well as exhibitions at museums and aquariums around the world. The aim was to encourage citizens to sign a petition demanding a legally binding UN agreement that would outlaw plastic pollution. An outsized mission for a small hero.