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The Effects of Microplastics on Organisms in Coastal Areas

Microplastics (plastic particles under 5 mm) are an abundant type of debris found in salt and freshwater environments. In a Limnology & Oceanography Letters study, researchers demonstrated the transfer of microplastics through the food chain between microscopic prey and larval fish that live in coastal ecosystems. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 12:01 am EST
"Because estuaries are incredibly productive habitats that are home to many of our commercial seafood species in the United States, it is important to understand the sources, fate, and effects of microplastics and associated pollutants in these systems."

Microplastics (plastic particles under 5 mm) are an abundant type of debris found in salt and freshwater environments. In a Limnology & Oceanography Letters study, researchers demonstrated the transfer of microplastics through the food chain between microscopic prey and larval fish that live in coastal ecosystems. They also found that microplastic ingestion interferes with normal growth in fish larvae.

The investigators also looked at the effects of a common pollutant (the pesticide DDT) that attaches to microparticles in coastal waters. Organisms were not able to detect or discriminate against ingesting microparticles with high levels of DDT.

“Our findings indicate that trophic transfer may be an important route for microplastic exposure in estuarine food webs and that even short exposure to high levels of microplastics can impair growth of an important prey fish,” said lead author Samantha Athey, of the University of Toronto. “Because estuaries are incredibly productive habitats that are home to many of our commercial seafood species in the United States, it is important to understand the sources, fate, and effects of microplastics and associated pollutants in these systems.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lol2.10130

About Journal 

Limnology and Oceanography Letters (L&O Letters)  is a platform for communication of the most innovative and trend-setting research in the aquatic sciences. Manuscripts should present high impact, cutting-edge results, discoveries or conceptual developments in any area of limnology and oceanography or its integration. Manuscripts will be selected based on their broad interest to the field, the strength of their empirical and conceptual foundations; their insightful, succinct and elegant conclusions; and their potential to advance knowledge in the aquatic sciences. Submissions must be short-format articles that are concise, highly focused analyses, with few display items.

About Wiley

Wiley drives the world forward with research and education. Through publishing, platforms and services, we help students, researchers, universities, and corporations to achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to all of our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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