Potential Threat of Microplastics to Zooplanktivores in the Surface Waters of the Southern Sea of Korea

  • Jung-Hoon Kang
  • Oh-Youn Kwon
  • Won Joon Shim


The potential impact of microplastic to zooplanktivores was assessed by measuring a ratio of neustonic microplastics to zooplankton by abundance in the southern sea of Korea. Neustonic microplastics and zooplankton (0.33–2 mm) were collected using a 330-μm mesh Manta trawl in Geoje eastern Bay and Jinhae Bay before and after the rainy season in 2012 and 2013. The mean microplastic to zooplankton ratios were 0.086 (May) and 0.022 (July) in 2012, and 0.016 (June) and 0.004 (July) in 2013, indicating that zooplanktivores could be more likely to feed on microplastics than natural preys before the rainy season in 2012 and 2013. In particular, the relatively high ratio occurred in a semi-enclosed bay characterized by a shipyard and a beach resort in Geoje Bay, and at stations close to a wastewater treatment plant and an aquaculture facility in Jinhae Bay before the rainy season. Among dominant microplastics and zooplankton before the rainy season, meroplankton of macrobenthos could be confused with paint particles in Geoje Bay, 2012, whereas Styrofoam could be mistaken as immature copepods by predators in Jinhae Bay, 2013. These observations suggest that zooplanktivores could be more likely to feed on microplastics than natural preys around Geoje and Jinhae Bays before the rainy season.


Rainy Season Prey Item Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Paint Particle Hard Plastic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by research project titled “Environmental Risk Assessment of Microplastics in the Marine Environment” from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Korea.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jung-Hoon Kang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Oh-Youn Kwon
    • 1
  • Won Joon Shim
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.South Sea Research InstituteKorea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology (KIOST)GeojeRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Oil and POPs Research GroupKorea Institute of Ocean Science & TechnologyGeojeRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Marine Environmental ScienceUniversity of Science and TechnologyDajeonRepublic of Korea

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