- Caturay Jr., Warlito S.
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- National Science Foundation
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Abstract In the global ocean, more than 380 species are known to ingest microplastics (plastic particles less than 5 mm in size), including mid-trophic forage fishes central to pelagic food webs. Trophic pathways that bioaccumulate microplastics in marine food webs remain unclear. We assess the potential for the trophic transfer of microplastics through forage fishes, which are prey for diverse predators including commercial and protected species. Here, we quantify Northern Anchovy ( Engraulis mordax ) exposure to microplastics relative to their natural zooplankton prey, across their vertical habitat. Microplastic and zooplankton samples were collected from the California Current Ecosystem in 2006 and 2007. We estimated the abundance of microplastics beyond the sampled size range but within anchovy feeding size ranges using global microplastic size distributions. Depth-integrated microplastics (0–30 m depth) were estimated using a depth decay model, accounting for the effects of wind-driven vertical mixing on buoyant microplastics. In this coastal upwelling biome, the median relative exposure for an anchovy that consumed prey 0.287–5 mm in size was 1 microplastic particle for every 3399 zooplankton individuals. Microplastic exposure varied, peaking within offshore habitats, during the winter, and during the day. Maximum exposure to microplastic particles relative to zooplankton prey wasmore »
Microplastic is a contaminant of concern worldwide. Rivers are implicated as major pathways of microplastic transport to marine and lake ecosystems, and microplastic ingestion by freshwater biota is a risk associated with microplastic contamination, but there is little research on microplastic ecology within freshwater ecosystems. Microplastic uptake by fish is likely affected by environmental microplastic abundance and aspects of fish ecology, but these relationships have rarely been addressed. We measured the abundance and composition of microplastic in fish and surface waters from 3 major tributaries of Lake Michigan, USA. Microplastic was detected in fish and surface waters from all 3 sites, but there was no correlation between microplastic concentrations in fish and surface waters. Rather, there was a significant effect of functional feeding group on microplastic concentration in fish.
Neogobius melanostomus(round goby, a zoobenthivore) had the highest concentration of gut microplastic (19 particles fish−1) compared to 10 other fish taxa measured, and had a positive linear relationship between body size and number of microplastic particles. Surface water microplastic concentrations were lowest in the most northern, forested watershed, and highest in the most southern, agriculturally dominated watershed. Results suggest microplastic pollution is common in river food webs and is connected tomore »
Abstract Microplastic particles (MPs) are ubiquitous across a wide range of aquatic habitats but determining an appropriate level of risk management is hindered by a poor understanding of environmental risk. Here, we introduce a risk management framework for aquatic ecosystems that identifies four critical management thresholds, ranging from low regulatory concern to the highest level of concern where pollution control measures could be introduced to mitigate environmental emissions. The four thresholds were derived using a species sensitivity distribution (SSD) approach and the best available data from the peer-reviewed literature. This included a total of 290 data points extracted from 21 peer-reviewed microplastic toxicity studies meeting a minimal set of pre-defined quality criteria. The meta-analysis resulted in the development of critical thresholds for two effects mechanisms: food dilution with thresholds ranging from ~ 0.5 to 35 particles/L, and tissue translocation with thresholds ranging from ~ 60 to 4100 particles/L. This project was completed within an expert working group, which assigned high confidence to the management framework and associated analytical approach for developing thresholds, and very low to high confidence in the numerical thresholds. Consequently, several research recommendations are presented, which would strengthen confidence in quantifying threshold values for use in risk assessment andmore »
The ubiquitous pollution of the environment with microplastics, a diverse suite of contaminants, is of growing concern for science and currently receives considerable public, political, and academic attention. The potential impact of microplastics in the environment has prompted a great deal of research in recent years. Many diverse methods have been developed to answer different questions about microplastic pollution, from sources, transport, and fate in the environment, and about effects on humans and wildlife. These methods are often insufficiently described, making studies neither comparable nor reproducible. The proliferation of new microplastic investigations and cross-study syntheses to answer larger scale questions are hampered. This diverse group of 23 researchers think these issues can begin to be overcome through the adoption of a set of reporting guidelines. This collaboration was created using an open science framework that we detail for future use. Here, we suggest harmonized reporting guidelines for microplastic studies in environmental and laboratory settings through all steps of a typical study, including best practices for reporting materials, quality assurance/quality control, data, field sampling, sample preparation, microplastic identification, microplastic categorization, microplastic quantification, and considerations for toxicology studies. We developed three easy to use documents, a detailed document, a checklist, and amore »
Marine organisms are exposed to stressors associated with climate change throughout their life cycle, but a majority of studies focus on responses in single life stages, typically early ones. Here, we examined how negative impacts from stressors associated with climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution can act across multiple life stages to influence long-term population dynamics and decrease resilience to mass mortality events. We used a continuous-size-structured density-dependent model for abalone ( Haliotis spp.), calcifying mollusks that support valuable fisheries, to explore the sensitivity of stock abundance and annual catch to potential changes in growth, survival, and fecundity across the organism’s lifespan. Our model predicts that decreased recruitment from lowered fertilization success or larval survival has small negative impacts on the population, and that stock size and fishery performance are much more sensitive to changes in parameters that affect the size or survival of adults. Sensitivity to impacts on subadults and juveniles is also important for the population, though less so than for adults. Importantly, likelihood of recovery following mortality events showed more pronounced sensitivity to most possible parameter impacts, greater than the effects on equilibrium density or catch. Our results suggest that future experiments on environmental stressors should focusmore »