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Bioavailability of Microplastics to Marine Zooplankton: Effect of Shape and Infochemicals

Botterell, Zara LR and Beaumont, Nicola and Cole, Matthew and Hopkins, Frances E and Steinke, Michael and Thompson, Richard C and Lindeque, Penelope K (2020) 'Bioavailability of Microplastics to Marine Zooplankton: Effect of Shape and Infochemicals.' Environmental Science and Technology, 54 (19). pp. 12024-12033. ISSN 0013-936X

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The underlying mechanisms that influence microplastic ingestion in marine zooplankton remain poorly understood. Here, we investigate how microplastics of a variety of shapes (bead, fiber, and fragment), in combination with the algal-derived infochemicals dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), affect the ingestion rate of microplastics in three species of zooplankton, the copepods Calanus helgolandicus and Acartia tonsa and larvae of the European lobster Homarus gammarus. We show that shape affects microplastic bioavailability to different species of zooplankton, with each species ingesting significantly more of a certain shape: C. helgolandicus—fragments (P < 0.05); A. tonsa—fibers (P < 0.01); H. gammarus larvae—beads (P < 0.05). Thus, different feeding strategies between species may affect shape selectivity. Our results also showed significantly increased ingestion rates by C. helgolandicus on all microplastics that were infused with DMS (P < 0.01) and by H. gammarus larvae and A. tonsa on DMS-infused fibers and fragments (P < 0.05). By using a range of more environmentally relevant microplastics, our findings highlight how the feeding strategies of different zooplankton species may influence their susceptibility to microplastic ingestion. Furthermore, our novel study suggests that species reliant on chemosensory cues to locate their prey may be at an increased risk of ingesting aged microplastics in the marine environment.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals; Zooplankton; Plastics; Water Pollutants, Chemical; Environmental Monitoring; Biological Availability; Microplastics
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2020 07:59
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 13:23

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