The Impact of Polystyrene Microplastics on Feeding, Function and Fecundity in the Marine Copepod Calanus helgolandicus

Source: ACS Publications

Authors: Matthew Cole, Pennie Lindeque, Elaine Fileman, Claudia Halsband, and Tamara S. Galloway

Abstract

Microscopic plastic debris, termed “microplastics”, are of increasing environmental concern. Recent studies have demonstrated that a range of zooplankton, including copepods, can ingest microplastics. Copepods are a globally abundant class of zooplankton that form a key trophic link between primary producers and higher trophic marine organisms. Here we demonstrate that ingestion of microplastics can significantly alter the feeding capacity of the pelagic copepod Calanus helgolandicus. Exposed to 20 μm polystyrene beads (75 microplastics mL–1) and cultured algae ([250 μg C L–1) for 24 h, C. helgolandicus ingested 11% fewer algal cells (P = 0.33) and 40% less carbon biomass (P < 0.01). There was a net downward shift in the mean size of algal prey consumed (P < 0.001), with a 3.6 fold increase in ingestion rate for the smallest size class of algal prey (11.6–12.6 μm), suggestive of postcapture or postingestion rejection. Prolonged exposure to polystyrene microplastics significantly decreased reproductive output, but there were no significant differences in egg production rates, respiration or survival. We constructed a conceptual energetic (carbon) budget showing that microplastic-exposed copepods suffer energetic depletion over time. We conclude that microplastics impede feeding in copepods, which over time could lead to sustained reductions in ingested carbon biomass.

Amount and distribution of neustonic micro-plastic off the Western Sardinian coast (Central-Western Mediterranean Sea)

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: Giuseppe Andrea de Lucia, Ilaria Caliani, Stefano Marra, Andrea Camedda,
Stefania Coppa, Luigi Alcaro, Tommaso Campani, Matteo Giannetti, Daniele
Coppola, Anna Maria Cicero, Cristina Panti, Matteo Baini, Cristiana
Guerranti, Letizia Marsili, Giorgio Massaro, Maria Cristina Fossi, Marco
Matiddi

Abstract

A plethora of different sampling methodologies has been used to document the presence of micro-plastic fragments in sea water. European Marine Strategy suggests to improve standard techniques to make future data comparable. We use Manta Trawl sampling technique to quantify abundance and distribution of micro-plastic fragments in Sardinian Sea (Western Mediterranean), and their relation with phthalates and organoclorine in the neustonic habitat. Our results highlight a quite high average plastic abundance value (0.15 items/m3), comparable to the levels detected in other areas of the Mediterranean. “Site” is the only factor that significantly explains the differences observed in micro-plastic densities. Contaminant levels show high spatial and temporal variation. In every station, HCB is the contaminant with the lowest concentration while PCBs shows the highest levels. This work, in line with Marine Strategy directives, represents a preliminary study for the analysis of plastic impact on marine environment of Sardinia.

Isolation of microplastics in biota-rich seawater samples and marine organisms

Source: Nature

Authors: Matthew Cole, Hannah Webb, Pennie K. Lindeque, Elaine S. Fileman, Claudia Halsband, Tamara S. Galloway

Abstract

Microplastic litter is a pervasive pollutant present in aquatic systems across the globe. A range of marine organisms have the capacity to ingest microplastics, resulting in adverse health effects. Developing methods to accurately quantify microplastics in productive marine waters, and those internalized by marine organisms, is of growing importance. Here we investigate the efficacy of using acid, alkaline and enzymatic digestion techniques in mineralizing biological material from marine surface trawls to reveal any microplastics present. Our optimized enzymatic protocol can digest >97% (by weight) of the material present in plankton-rich seawater samples without destroying any microplastic debris present. In applying the method to replicate marine samples from the western English Channel, we identified 0.27 microplastics m−3. The protocol was further used to extract microplastics ingested by marine zooplankton under laboratory conditions. Our findings illustrate that enzymatic digestion can aid the detection of microplastic debris within seawater samples and marine biota.

 

Protected areas in the Atlantic facing the hazards of micro-plastic pollution: First diagnosis of three islands in the Canary Current

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: Juan Baztan, Ana Carrasco, Omer Chouinard, Muriel Cleaud, Jesús E.
Gabaldon, Thierry Huck, Lionel Jaffrès, Bethany Jorgensen, Aquilino
Miguelez, Christine Paillard, Jean-Paul Vanderlinden

Abstract

Coastal zones and the biosphere as a whole show signs of cumulative degradation due to the use and disposal of plastics. To better understand the manifestation of plastic pollution in the Atlantic Ocean, we partnered with local communities to determine the concentrations of micro-plastics in 125 beaches on three islands in the Canary Current: Lanzarote, La Graciosa, and Fuerteventura. We found that, in spite of being located in highly-protected natural areas, all beaches in our study area are exceedingly vulnerable to micro-plastic pollution, with pollution levels reaching concentrations greater than 100 g of plastic in 1 l of sediment. This paper contributes to ongoing efforts to develop solutions to plastic pollution by addressing the questions: (i) Where does this pollution come from?; (ii) How much plastic pollution is in the world’s oceans and coastal zones?; (iii) What are the consequences for the biosphere?; and (iv) What are possible solutions?

 

Large filter feeding marine organisms as indicators of microplastic in the pelagic environment: the case studies of the Mediterranean basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: Maria Cristina Fossi, Daniele Coppola, Matteo Baini, Matteo Giannetti, Cristiana Guerranti, Letizia Marsili, Cristina Panti, Eleonora de Sabata, Simona Clò

Abstract

The impact of microplastics (plastic fragments smaller than 5 mm) on large filter feeding marine organisms such as baleen whales and sharks are largely unknown. These species potentially are ingesting micro-litter by filter feeding activity. Here we present the case studies of the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) and basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) exploring the toxicological effects of microplastics in these species measuring the levels of phthalates in both species. The results show higher concentration of MEHP in the muscle of basking shark in comparison to fin whale blubber. These species can be proposed as indicators of microplastics in the pelagic environment in the implementation of Descriptor 8 and 10 of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Evidence of microplastics in samples of zooplankton from Portuguese coastal waters

Source: Science Direct

Authors: J.P.G.L. Frias, V. Otero, P. Sobral

Abstract

Records of high concentrations of plastic and microplastic marine debris floating in the ocean have led to investigate the presence of microplastics in samples of zooplankton from Portuguese coastal waters. Zooplankton samples collected at four offshore sites, in surveys conducted between 2002 and 2008, with three different sampling methods, were used in this preliminary study. A total of 152 samples were processed and microplastics were identified in 93 of them, corresponding to 61% of the total. Costa Vicentina, followed by Lisboa, were the regions with higher microplastic concentrations (0.036 and 0.033 no. m−3) and abundances (0.07 and 0.06 cm3 m−3), respectively. Microplastic: zooplankton ratios were also higher in these two regions, which is probably related to the proximity of densely populated areas and inputs from the Tejo and Sado river estuaries. Microplastics polymers were identified using Micro Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (μ-FTIR), as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyacrylates (PA). The present work is the first report on the composition of microplastic particles collected with plankton nets in Portuguese coastal waters. Plankton surveys from regular monitoring campaigns conducted worldwide may be used to monitor plastic particles in the oceans and constitute an important and low cost tool to address marine litter within the scope of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC).

Evidence of microplastics in samples of zooplankton from Portuguese coastal waters

Source: ScienceDirect

Authors: J.P.G.L. Frias, V. Otero, P. Sobral

Abstract

Records of high concentrations of plastic and microplastic marine debris floating in the ocean have led to investigate the presence of microplastics in samples of zooplankton from Portuguese coastal waters. Zooplankton samples collected at four offshore sites, in surveys conducted between 2002 and 2008, with three different sampling methods, were used in this preliminary study. A total of 152 samples were processed and microplastics were identified in 93 of them, corresponding to 61% of the total. Costa Vicentina, followed by Lisboa, were the regions with higher microplastic concentrations (0.036 and 0.033 no. m-3) and abundances (0.07 and 0.06 cm3 m-3), respectively. Microplastic: zooplankton ratios were also higher in these two regions, which is probably related to the proximity of densely populated areas and inputs from the Tejo and Sado river estuaries. Microplastics polymers were identified using Micro Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (μ-FTIR), as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyacrylates (PA). The present work is the first report on the composition of microplastic particles collected with plankton nets in Portuguese coastal waters. Plankton surveys from regular monitoring campaigns conducted worldwide may be used to monitor plastic particles in the oceans and constitute an important and low cost tool to address marine litter within the scope of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC).