Sing the Copepod Song

in Field Notes/Song
ENSAYOS translated the content of a scientific paper (“Toxic effects of polyethylene terephalate microparticles and Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate on the calanoid copepod, Parvocalanus crassirostris“) into the form of a well-known folk song. The rewrite was undertaken in collaboration with ichthyologist Lynne van Herwerden so that her laboratory’s research concerning the human impact on nearby coral reefs could be accessible to the broader coastal community. The song was performed as a sing-along at the closing of the exhibition Everything is Possibly an Oracle in Brisbane, Australia. During the performance, audience talkback filled in the blank in the song’s last line. Here is the song. Please sing it, and fill in the blank. It’s a mouthful.

COPEPOD SONG
Sing to the tune of “I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly”

I woke up this morning and swallowed some plastic
I don’t even know what microplastics are
I hope I don’t die

I woke up this morning and swallowed a copepod
That little guy ate a microplastic for breakfast (instead of a phytoplankton)
Just sucked it right up, into its gut (yeah it got stuck there)
I hope it don’t die

I woke up this morning and swallowed a fish larva
It’s swimming around in my tummy all salty and gooey
I swallowed a fish larva that swallowed a copepod
That swallowed a microplastic instead of a phytoplankton,
I hope we don’t die

I woke up this morning and swallowed a damselfish
I WISH YOU’D STOP EATING FISH
I swallowed a damselfish that swallowed a fish larva
That’s swimming around in my tummy all salty and gooey
I swallowed a fish larva that swallowed a copepod
That swallowed a microplastic
Instead of a phytoplankton (reducing its chance of survival by 40%)
Are they all gonna die???

I woke up this morning and swallowed a coral trout
Without a doubt I like eating trout
I swallowed a coral trout that swallowed a damselfish that swallowed a fish larva
That’s swimming around in my tummy all salty and gooey
I swallowed a fish larva that swallowed a copepod
That swallowed a microplastic for breakfast instead of a phytoplankton
At the base of the food web
We’re all gonna die…
UNLESS ___________________

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