Microplastics on beaches: ingestion and behavioural consequences for beachhoppers
- 1.2k Downloads
Microplastics are ubiquitous in the marine environment worldwide, and may cause a physical and chemical risk to marine organisms. Their small size makes them bioavailable to a range of organisms with evidence of ingestion at all levels of the marine ecosystem. Despite an increasing body of research into microplastics, few studies have explored how consumption changes complex behaviours such as predator avoidance and social interactions. Pollutant exposure can result in alterations in behaviour that not only leads to sub optimal conditions for individual organisms but may also serve as a warning sign for wider effects on a system. This research assessed the impacts of microplastics on the ecology of coastal biota using beachhoppers (Platorchestia smithi) as model organisms. We exposed beachhoppers to marine-contaminated microplastics to understand effects on survival and behaviour. Beachhoppers readily ingested microplastics, and there was evidence for accumulation of microplastics within the organisms. Exposure tests showed that microplastic consumption can affect beachhopper survival. Individuals also displayed reduced jump height and an increase in weight, however, there was no significant difference in time taken to relocate shelter post disturbance. Overall, these results show that short-term ingestion of microplastics have an impact on survival and behaviour of P. smithi. A reduction in the capacity for beachhoppers to survive and function may have flow on effects to their local environment and higher trophic levels.
KeywordsPAHs PCBs Exposure Test Jump Height Jump Frequency
We thank the members and interns of the MEG and BEEF labs for field and laboratory assistance, to Carlita Foster-Hogg for work on beachhopper weight analysis, Sarah Houlhan for undertaking GC MS analysis of microplastics and beachhoppers, and to Alistair Poore for advice on beachhopper husbandry. Beachhopper collections were conducted under NSW Fisheries Scientific Collection Permit number P14/0032-1.1. This is contribution #189 from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS).
This research was funded by the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All the authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with vertebrate animals performed by any of the authors.
- Ayari A, Jelassi R, Ghemari C, Nasri-Ammar K (2015a) Effect of age, sex, and mutual interaction on the locomotor behavior of Orchestia gammarellus in the supralittoral zone of Ghar El Melh lagoon (Bizerte, Tunisia). Biol Rhythm Res 46:703–714. doi: 10.1080/09291016.2015.1048950 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bregazzi P, Naylor E (1972) The locomotor activity rhythm of Talitrus saltator (Montagu)(Crustacea, Amphipoda). J Exp Biol 57:375–391Google Scholar
- Cole M, Lindeque P, Fileman E, Halsband C, Goodhead R, Moger J, Galloway TS (2013) Microplastic ingestion by zooplankton. Environmental science & technology 47: 6646–6655. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es400663f
- Core Team R (2013) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- Endo S, Takizawa R, Okuda K, Takada H, Chiba K, Kanehiro H, Ogi H, Yamashita R, Date T (2005) Concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in beached resin pellets: variability among individual particles and regional differences. Mar Pollut Bull 50:1103–1114. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2005.04.030 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- GESAMP (2010) Proceedings of the GESAMP international workshop on plastic particles as a vector in transport0069 ng persistent, bio-accumulating and toxic substances in the oceans. GESAMP Rep Stud, vol. 82Google Scholar
- Griffiths CL, Stenton-Dozey JME, Koop K (1983) Kelp Wrack and the flow of energy through a Sandy beach ecosystem. In: McLachlan A, Erasmus T (eds) sandy beaches as ecosystems: based on the proceedings of the first international symposium on sandy beaches, held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 17–21 January 1983. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 547–556. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-2938-3_42 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lowry J (2012) Talitrid amphipods from ocean beaches along the New South Wales coast of Australia (Amphipoda, Talitridae). Zootaxa 3575:1–26Google Scholar
- Ogata Y, Takada H, Mizukawa K, Hirai H, Iwasa S, Endo S, Mato Y, Saha M, Okuda K, Nakashima A (2009) International Pellet Watch: global monitoring of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in coastal waters. 1. Initial phase data on PCBs, DDTs, and HCHs. Mar Pollut Bull 58:1437–1446. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.06.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pinheiro J BD, DebRoy S, Sarkar D, R Core Team (2014) nlme: Linear and Nonlinear Mixed Effects Models. R package version 3.1–117Google Scholar
- Teuten EL, Saquing JM, Knappe DR, Barlaz MA, Jonsson S, Björn A, Rowland SJ, Thompson RC, Galloway TS, Yamashita R (2009) Transport and release of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife. Philosoph Trans R Soc Lond Ser B Biol Sci 364:2027–2045. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0284 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Turra A, Manzano AB, Dias RJS, Mahiques MM, Barbosa L, Balthazar-Silva D, Moreira FT (2014) Three-dimensional distribution of plastic pellets in sandy beaches: shifting paradigms. Scientific reports 4: 4435. http://www.nature.com/articles/srep04435
- Weiss H, Wilhems A, Mills N, Scotchmer J, Hall P, Lind K, Brekke T (2000) The Norwegian industry guide to organic geochemical analyses [online]. http://www.npd.no/engelsk/nigoga/default.htm. pp. 102