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Microplastics Alter the Properties and Sinking Rates of Zooplankton Faecal Pellets.
Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Mar 15; 50(6):3239-46.ES

Abstract

Plastic debris is a widespread contaminant, prevalent in aquatic ecosystems across the globe. Zooplankton readily ingest microscopic plastic (microplastic, < 1 mm), which are later egested within their faecal pellets. These pellets are a source of food for marine organisms, and contribute to the oceanic vertical flux of particulate organic matter as part of the biological pump. The effects of microplastics on faecal pellet properties are currently unknown. Here we test the hypotheses that (1) faecal pellets are a vector for transport of microplastics, (2) polystyrene microplastics can alter the properties and sinking rates of zooplankton egests and, (3) faecal pellets can facilitate the transfer of plastics to coprophagous biota. Following exposure to 20.6 μm polystyrene microplastics (1000 microplastics mL(-1)) and natural prey (∼1650 algae mL(-1)) the copepod Calanus helgolandicus egested faecal pellets with significantly (P < 0.001) reduced densities, a 2.25-fold reduction in sinking rates, and a higher propensity for fragmentation. We further show that microplastics, encapsulated within egests of the copepod Centropages typicus, could be transferred to C. helgolandicus via coprophagy. Our results support the proposal that sinking faecal matter represents a mechanism by which floating plastics can be vertically transported away from surface waters.

Authors+Show Affiliations

College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter , Exeter EX4 4QD, United Kingdom. Plymouth Marine Laboratory , Plymouth PL1 3DH, United Kingdom.Plymouth Marine Laboratory , Plymouth PL1 3DH, United Kingdom.Plymouth Marine Laboratory , Plymouth PL1 3DH, United Kingdom.College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter , Exeter EX4 4QD, United Kingdom. Plymouth Marine Laboratory , Plymouth PL1 3DH, United Kingdom.College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter , Exeter EX4 4QD, United Kingdom.Akvaplan-niva AS, FRAM -High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment, N-9296 Tromsø, Norway.College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter , Exeter EX4 4QD, United Kingdom.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

26905979

Citation

Cole, Matthew, et al. "Microplastics Alter the Properties and Sinking Rates of Zooplankton Faecal Pellets." Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 50, no. 6, 2016, pp. 3239-46.
Cole M, Lindeque PK, Fileman E, et al. Microplastics Alter the Properties and Sinking Rates of Zooplankton Faecal Pellets. Environ Sci Technol. 2016;50(6):3239-46.
Cole, M., Lindeque, P. K., Fileman, E., Clark, J., Lewis, C., Halsband, C., & Galloway, T. S. (2016). Microplastics Alter the Properties and Sinking Rates of Zooplankton Faecal Pellets. Environmental Science & Technology, 50(6), 3239-46. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b05905
Cole M, et al. Microplastics Alter the Properties and Sinking Rates of Zooplankton Faecal Pellets. Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Mar 15;50(6):3239-46. PubMed PMID: 26905979.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Microplastics Alter the Properties and Sinking Rates of Zooplankton Faecal Pellets. AU - Cole,Matthew, AU - Lindeque,Penelope K, AU - Fileman,Elaine, AU - Clark,James, AU - Lewis,Ceri, AU - Halsband,Claudia, AU - Galloway,Tamara S, Y1 - 2016/02/23/ PY - 2016/2/25/entrez PY - 2016/2/26/pubmed PY - 2017/11/29/medline SP - 3239 EP - 46 JF - Environmental science & technology JO - Environ. Sci. Technol. VL - 50 IS - 6 N2 - Plastic debris is a widespread contaminant, prevalent in aquatic ecosystems across the globe. Zooplankton readily ingest microscopic plastic (microplastic, < 1 mm), which are later egested within their faecal pellets. These pellets are a source of food for marine organisms, and contribute to the oceanic vertical flux of particulate organic matter as part of the biological pump. The effects of microplastics on faecal pellet properties are currently unknown. Here we test the hypotheses that (1) faecal pellets are a vector for transport of microplastics, (2) polystyrene microplastics can alter the properties and sinking rates of zooplankton egests and, (3) faecal pellets can facilitate the transfer of plastics to coprophagous biota. Following exposure to 20.6 μm polystyrene microplastics (1000 microplastics mL(-1)) and natural prey (∼1650 algae mL(-1)) the copepod Calanus helgolandicus egested faecal pellets with significantly (P < 0.001) reduced densities, a 2.25-fold reduction in sinking rates, and a higher propensity for fragmentation. We further show that microplastics, encapsulated within egests of the copepod Centropages typicus, could be transferred to C. helgolandicus via coprophagy. Our results support the proposal that sinking faecal matter represents a mechanism by which floating plastics can be vertically transported away from surface waters. SN - 1520-5851 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/26905979/Microplastics_Alter_the_Properties_and_Sinking_Rates_of_Zooplankton_Faecal_Pellets_ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b05905 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -