skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, July 12 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, July 13 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Tank, Jennifer L."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. null (Ed.)
  2. Abstract Accumulation of plastic litter is accelerating worldwide. Rivers are a source of microplastic (i.e., particles <5 mm) to oceans, but few measurements of microplastic retention in rivers exist. We adapted spiraling metrics used to measure particulate organic matter transport to quantify microplastic deposition using an outdoor experimental stream. We conducted replicated pulse releases of three common microplastics: polypropylene pellets, polystyrene fragments, and acrylic fibers, repeating measurements using particles with and without biofilms. Depositional velocity (v dep ; mm/s) patterns followed expectations based on density and biofilm ‘stickiness’, where v dep was highest for fragments, intermediate for fibers, and lowest for pellets, with biofilm colonization generally increasing v dep . Comparing microplastic v dep to values for natural particles (e.g., fine and coarse particulate organic matter) showed that particle diameter was positively related to v dep and negatively related to the ratio of v dep to settling velocity (i.e., sinking rate in standing water). Thus, microplastic v dep in rivers can be quantified with the same methods and follows the same patterns as natural particles. These data are the first measurements of microplastic deposition in rivers, and directly inform models of microplastic transport at the landscape scale, making a key contribution to research on the global ecology of plastic waste. 
    more » « less
  3. Seasonal animal movement among disparate habitats is a fundamental mechanism by which energy, nutrients, and biomass are transported across ecotones. A dramatic example of such exchange is the annual emergence of mayfly swarms from freshwater benthic habitats, but their characterization at macroscales has remained impossible. We analyzed radar observations of mayfly emergence flights to quantify long-term changes in annual biomass transport along the Upper Mississippi River and Western Lake Erie Basin. A single emergence event can produce 87.9 billion mayflies, releasing 3,078.6 tons of biomass into the airspace over several hours, but in recent years, production across both waterways has declined by over 50%. As a primary prey source in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, these declines will impact higher trophic levels and environmental nutrient cycling.

    more » « less