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The Impact of Polystyrene Microplastics on Filtration Rate in the Marine Copepod Acartia tonsa

Ottvall, Len-Oliver (2016) BIOK01 20161
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract (Swedish)
Microplastic particles are of increasing environmental concern around the globe and recent studies have shown that these particles are present in the entire water column, thus affecting a range of zooplankton including copepods that have a vital role in the marine food web. This study investigated whether microplastic beads have an effect in the filtration rate in the copepod Acartia tonsa, which was collected outside of Ålabodarna located in Oresund. The copepods were exposed to three different solutions during a period of 48h. One group contained solely 10μm of microplastic beads with a concentration of 130 beads per milliliter, the second one contained only a cultured algae mixture with a concentration of 1300 cells per milliliter and... (More)
Microplastic particles are of increasing environmental concern around the globe and recent studies have shown that these particles are present in the entire water column, thus affecting a range of zooplankton including copepods that have a vital role in the marine food web. This study investigated whether microplastic beads have an effect in the filtration rate in the copepod Acartia tonsa, which was collected outside of Ålabodarna located in Oresund. The copepods were exposed to three different solutions during a period of 48h. One group contained solely 10μm of microplastic beads with a concentration of 130 beads per milliliter, the second one contained only a cultured algae mixture with a concentration of 1300 cells per milliliter and the third group contained both plastic beads and algae with the same concentrations as mentioned above. The amount of particles in every container from each group was counted for at t0, t24 and t48. The results showed no significant difference between the groups in the net change in their filtration rate but indicated that their overall survival decreased when being exposed to microplastics. The study concludes that more research is needed to understand what kind of impacts microplastics might have on the copepods filtration rate. (Less)
Popular Abstract (Swedish)
The usage of different kinds of plastic items occurs all around the globe, mostly for many of our everyday purposes. This is not so surprising because of the plastic being quite a versatile material and seems well suited for a far variety of applications, however, this increasing demand of plastic products for each year does come with a side effect. A large amount of our waste ends up in the oceans and it is estimated that between 60-80% of the total amount is made out of plastic. Today more than 250.000 tons is drifting around the oceans, not taken into account for the amount that’s currently present in both the sediment and the water column, and due to the fact that plastic does not rot it can last for many decades in nature thus giving... (More)
The usage of different kinds of plastic items occurs all around the globe, mostly for many of our everyday purposes. This is not so surprising because of the plastic being quite a versatile material and seems well suited for a far variety of applications, however, this increasing demand of plastic products for each year does come with a side effect. A large amount of our waste ends up in the oceans and it is estimated that between 60-80% of the total amount is made out of plastic. Today more than 250.000 tons is drifting around the oceans, not taken into account for the amount that’s currently present in both the sediment and the water column, and due to the fact that plastic does not rot it can last for many decades in nature thus giving it a long lifespan.

Because of the negative impacts which we know that larger plastic objects might cause to the environment (birds and whales ingesting plastic debris), a lot of attention throughout the years have been focused towards these problems – but since the last decade another topic has gained increased interest and that’s microscopic plastic particles, also known as microplastics. These are measured as less than 5mm in diameter and originates either from primary sources (man made particles for specific purposes, such as plastic beads in facewashers) or secondary sources (larger objects like plastic bottles that fragments into smaller pieces due to exposure to sunlight).

When microplastics leave the ocean surface and enters the waters column it becomes available to many different kinds of species, especially the small sized crustaceans called copepods which ingest their food by filtering the surounding water from nutrients. One of the negative effects that might occur by ingesting microplastics is that it could get stuck in the animals intestinal tract, leading to a decrease in food intake (the plastics wont break down once it is inside the animal and it could also occupy space within the stomach) thus lowering the animals filtration rate.

By looking at how the filtration rate could potentially get altered in the copepod Acartia tonsa, by the presence of microplastics, one can see whether or not these particles might have a negative effect on this species.

The results from the present study showed no significant difference in filtration rate, this might indicate that the copepods are able to ingest high levels of microplastics without affecting their filtration ability. However, copepods that ingested plastic particles had a higher death rate indicating that ingested microplastics might have a negative impact on their survival. (Less)
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author
Ottvall, Len-Oliver
supervisor
organization
course
BIOK01 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
language
English
id
8894175
date added to LUP
2016-10-27 15:19:00
date last changed
2016-10-27 15:19:00
@misc{8894175,
  abstract     = {Microplastic particles are of increasing environmental concern around the globe and recent studies have shown that these particles are present in the entire water column, thus affecting a range of zooplankton including copepods that have a vital role in the marine food web. This study investigated whether microplastic beads have an effect in the filtration rate in the copepod Acartia tonsa, which was collected outside of Ålabodarna located in Oresund. The copepods were exposed to three different solutions during a period of 48h. One group contained solely 10μm of microplastic beads with a concentration of 130 beads per milliliter, the second one contained only a cultured algae mixture with a concentration of 1300 cells per milliliter and the third group contained both plastic beads and algae with the same concentrations as mentioned above. The amount of particles in every container from each group was counted for at t0, t24 and t48. The results showed no significant difference between the groups in the net change in their filtration rate but indicated that their overall survival decreased when being exposed to microplastics. The study concludes that more research is needed to understand what kind of impacts microplastics might have on the copepods filtration rate.},
  author       = {Ottvall, Len-Oliver},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Impact of Polystyrene Microplastics on Filtration Rate in the Marine Copepod Acartia tonsa},
  year         = {2016},
}