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Responses of reef building corals to microplastic exposure.
Environ Pollut. 2018 Jun; 237:955-960.EP

Abstract

Pollution of marine environments with microplastic particles (i.e. plastic fragments <5 mm) has increased rapidly during the last decades. As these particles are mainly of terrestrial origin, coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs are particularly threatened. Recent studies revealed that microplastic ingestion can have adverse effects on marine invertebrates. However, little is known about its effects on small-polyp stony corals that are the main framework builders in coral reefs. The goal of this study is to characterise how different coral species I) respond to microplastic particles and whether the exposure might II) lead to health effects. Therefore, six small-polyp stony coral species belonging to the genera Acropora, Pocillopora, and Porites were exposed to microplastics (polyethylene, size 37-163 μm, concentration ca. 4000 particles L-1) over four weeks, and responses and effects on health were documented. The study showed that the corals responded differentially to microplastics. Cleaning mechanisms (direct interaction, mucus production) but also feeding interactions (i.e. interaction with mesenterial filaments, ingestion, and egestion) were observed. Additionally, passive contact through overgrowth was documented. In five of the six studied species, negative effects on health (i.e. bleaching and tissue necrosis) were reported. We here provide preliminary knowledge about coral-microplastic-interactions. The results call for further investigations of the effects of realistic microplastic concentrations on growth, reproduction, and survival of stony corals. This might lead to a better understanding of resilience capacities in coral reef ecosystems.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32 (IFZ), 35392 Giessen, Germany. Electronic address: jessica.reichert@allzool.bio.uni-giessen.de.Department of Applied Microbiology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32 (IFZ), 35392 Giessen, Germany.Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32 (IFZ), 35392 Giessen, Germany.Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32 (IFZ), 35392 Giessen, Germany.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29146203

Citation

Reichert, Jessica, et al. "Responses of Reef Building Corals to Microplastic Exposure." Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), vol. 237, 2018, pp. 955-960.
Reichert J, Schellenberg J, Schubert P, et al. Responses of reef building corals to microplastic exposure. Environ Pollut. 2018;237:955-960.
Reichert, J., Schellenberg, J., Schubert, P., & Wilke, T. (2018). Responses of reef building corals to microplastic exposure. Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 237, 955-960. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.11.006
Reichert J, et al. Responses of Reef Building Corals to Microplastic Exposure. Environ Pollut. 2018;237:955-960. PubMed PMID: 29146203.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Responses of reef building corals to microplastic exposure. AU - Reichert,Jessica, AU - Schellenberg,Johannes, AU - Schubert,Patrick, AU - Wilke,Thomas, Y1 - 2017/11/13/ PY - 2017/07/14/received PY - 2017/11/01/revised PY - 2017/11/02/accepted PY - 2017/11/18/pubmed PY - 2018/6/29/medline PY - 2017/11/18/entrez KW - 3D scanning KW - Coral bleaching KW - Microplastic KW - Small-polyp scleractinian corals KW - Tissue necrosis SP - 955 EP - 960 JF - Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) JO - Environ. Pollut. VL - 237 N2 - Pollution of marine environments with microplastic particles (i.e. plastic fragments <5 mm) has increased rapidly during the last decades. As these particles are mainly of terrestrial origin, coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs are particularly threatened. Recent studies revealed that microplastic ingestion can have adverse effects on marine invertebrates. However, little is known about its effects on small-polyp stony corals that are the main framework builders in coral reefs. The goal of this study is to characterise how different coral species I) respond to microplastic particles and whether the exposure might II) lead to health effects. Therefore, six small-polyp stony coral species belonging to the genera Acropora, Pocillopora, and Porites were exposed to microplastics (polyethylene, size 37-163 μm, concentration ca. 4000 particles L-1) over four weeks, and responses and effects on health were documented. The study showed that the corals responded differentially to microplastics. Cleaning mechanisms (direct interaction, mucus production) but also feeding interactions (i.e. interaction with mesenterial filaments, ingestion, and egestion) were observed. Additionally, passive contact through overgrowth was documented. In five of the six studied species, negative effects on health (i.e. bleaching and tissue necrosis) were reported. We here provide preliminary knowledge about coral-microplastic-interactions. The results call for further investigations of the effects of realistic microplastic concentrations on growth, reproduction, and survival of stony corals. This might lead to a better understanding of resilience capacities in coral reef ecosystems. SN - 1873-6424 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29146203/Responses_of_reef_building_corals_to_microplastic_exposure_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0269-7491(17)32953-6 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -