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Title: Plastics in Porifera: The occurrence of potential microplastics in marine sponges and seawater from Bocas del Toro, Panamá
Microplastics (MP) are now considered ubiquitous across global aquatic environments. The ingestion of MP by fish and other marine vertebrates is well studied, but the ingestion of MP by marine invertebrates is not. Sponges (Phylum Porifera) are particularly understudied when it comes to MP ingestion, even though they are widely distributed across benthic habitats, can process large volumes of seawater, and can retain small particles within their water filtration systems. This study examines the presence of potential MP (PMP) in wild marine sponges and seawater collected in Bocas del Toro, Panamá. Subsurface seawater and tissue from six common Caribbean sponge species was collected in Saigon Bay, a heavily impacted, shallow-water coral reef. Seawater samples were filtered onto glass fiber filters to retain any PMP present and sponge tissue was digested with bleach, heated and filtered. Filters were examined using fluorescence microscopy to quantify PMP. An average of 107 ± 25 PMP L –1 was detected in seawater from Saigon Bay with particles ranging in size between 10 μm and ~3,000 μm. The number of PMP found in sponge tissue ranged between 6 ± 4 and 169 ± 71 PMP g –1 of dry tissue. Most particles found in sponge samples more » were very small (10–20 μm), but fibers greater than 5,000 μm were detected. Our results indicate that PMP exists within the tissues of the sponges we studied, but future studies should confirm the presence of MP in sponges using chemical analysis. Most importantly, the discrepancy between low levels of PMP in our sponge samples and high levels in the surrounding seawater highlights the potential for sponges to resist and/or egest MP. Finally, we provide a critical evaluation of our methods to improve their use in future MP work with benthic marine organisms. « less
Authors:
;
Award ID(s):
1929293
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10286969
Journal Name:
PeerJ
Volume:
9
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
e11638
ISSN:
2167-8359
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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