The effects of microplastic pollution on sea urchins has received little attention despite their ecological and economical importance. This is the first study to focus on adult sea urchins (Arbacia punctulata). These organisms were exposed to storm-like sediment resuspension of microplastic concentrations (9-μm polystyrene 25,000 spheres L−1) combined with salinity reductions (salinity 25 vs. 33) associated with high precipitation. Urchins were exposed to these parameters for 24 h before assessing righting times and for 48 h before assessing oxygen consumption rates. No significant impacts on urchin physiology were observed showing resilience to short-term exposures of storm-like induced microplastics and salinity. No microplastic particles blocked the madreporite pores indicating the active removal of particles by cilia and pedicellariae. Gut tissue samples indicated consumption of microplastics. Studies on more species are urgently required to determine their responses to plastic pollution to inform management decision-making processes.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Blakey T, Melesse AM, Rousseaux S (2015) Toward subtropical algal blooms to freshwater nutrient sources using long term, spatially distributed, in situ chlorophyll-a record. CATENA 133:119–127
Cid A, Menéndez M, Castanedo S, Abascal AJ, Méndez FJ, Medina R (2016) Long-term changes in the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme storm surge events in Southern Europe. Clim Dyn 46:1503–1516
Daggett TL, Pearce CM, Robinson SMC, Chopin T (2010) Does method of kelp (Saccharina latissimi) storage affect its food value for promoting somatic growth of juvenile green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis)? J Shellfish Res 29:247–252
Ferguson JC (1996) Madreporite function and fluid relationships in sea urchins. Biol Bull 191:431–440
Freire CA, Santos IA, Vidolin D (2011) Osmolality and ions of the perivisceral coelomic fluid of the intertidal sea urchin Echinometra lucunter (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) upon salinity and ionic challenges. Zoologia 28:479–487
GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection) (2015) In: Kershaw PJ (ed) Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: a global assessment. (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). Report Studies GESAMP No. 90
GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). 2016) In: Kershaw PJ, Rochman CM (eds) Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: part two of a global assessment. (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). Report Studies GESAMP No. 93
Gezelius G (1963) Adaptation of the sea urchin Psammechinus miliaris to different salinities. Zoologiska Bidrag Från Uppsala 35:329–337
Graham ER, Thompson JT (2009) Deposit and suspension-feeding sea cucumbers (Echinodemrata) ingest plastic fragments. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 368:22–29
Honorato T, Boni R, Mirella da Silva P, Marques-Santos LF (2017) Effects of salinity on the immune system cells of the tropical sea urchin Echinometra lucunter. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 486:22–31
Kao S-C, Govindaraju RS (2007) Probabilistic structure of storm surface runoff considering the dependence between average intensity and storm duration of rainfall events. Water Resources Res 43:W06410
Kaposi KL, Mos B, Kelaher P, Dworjanyn SA (2014) Ingestion of microplastic has limited impact on a marine larva. Environ Sci Technol 48:1638–1645
Kazmiruck TN, Kazmiruk VD, Bendell LI (2018) Abundance and distribution of microplastics within surface sediments of a key shellfish growing region of Canada. PLoS ONE 13(5):e0196005
Lamjiri MA, Dettinger MD, Ralph FM, Guan B (2017) Hourly storm characteristics along the U.S. West Coast: role of atmospheric rivers in extreme precipitation. Geophys Res Lett 44:7020–7028
Lawrence JM, Plank LR, Lawrence AL (2003) The effect of feeding frequency on consumption of food, absorption efficiency, and gonad production in the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus. Comp Biochem Physiol Part A 134:69–75
Lusher A, Hollman P, Mendoza-Hill J (2017) Microplastics in fisheries and aquaculture. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper, 615
Martínez-Gómez C, León VM, Calles S, Gomáriz-Olcina M, Vethaak AD (2017) The adverse effects of virgin microplastics on the fertilization and larval development of sea urchins. Mar Environ Res 130:69–76
Messinetti S, Mercurio S, Parolini M, Sugni M, Pennati R (2018) Effects of polystyrene microplastics on early stages of two marine invertebrates with different feeding strategies. Environ Pollut 237:1080–1087
Morley SM, Suckling CC, Clark MS, Cross EL, Peck LS (2016) Long-term effects of altered pH and temperature on the feeding energetics of the Antarctic sea urchin, Sterechinus neumayeri. Biodiversity 17:34–45
Nobre CR, Santana MFM, Maluf A, Cortez FS, Cesar A, Pereira CDS, Turra A (2015) Assessment of microplastic toxicity to embryonic development of the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea). Mar Pollut Bull 92:99–104
Pearse JS (2006) Ecological role of purple sea urchins. Science 5801:940–941
Peck LS, Prothero-Thomas E (2002) Temperature effects on the metabolism of larvae of the Antarctic starfish Odontaster validus using a novel micro-respirometry method. Mar Biol 141:271–276
RStudio Team (2015) RStudio: Integrated Development for R. RStudio, Inc., Boston, MA. http://www.rstudio.com/
Ruppert EE, Barnes RD (1994) Invertebrate Zoology, 6th edn. Brookes/Cole Thomson Learning, London
Russell MP (2013) Echinoderm responses to variation in salinity. Adv Mar Biol 66:171–212
Sabourin TD, Stickle WB (1981) Effects of salinity on respiration and nitrogen excretion in two species of echinoderms. Mar Biol 65:91–99
Santos IA, Castellano GC, Freire CA (2013) Direct relationship between osmotic and ionic conforming behaviour and tissue water regulatory capacity in echinoids. Comp Biochem Physiol A Molecul Integr Physiol 162:466–476
Suckling CC, Symonds RC, Kelly MS, Young AJ (2011) The effect of artificial diets on gonad colour & biomass in the edible sea urchin Psammechinus miliaris. Aquaculture 318:335–342
Suckling CC, Clark MS, Richard J, Morley SA, Thorne MAS, Harper EM, Peck LS (2015) Adult acclimation to combined temperature and pH stressors significantly enhances reproductive outcomes compared to short-term exposures. J Animal Ecol 84:773–784
Suckling CC, Terrey D, Davies AJ (2018) Optimising stocking density for the commercial cultivation of sea urchin larvae. Aquaculture 488:96–104
Tamori M, Matsuno A, Takahashi K (1996) Structure and function of the pore canals of the sea urchin madreporite. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 351:659–676
Taylor ML, Gwinnet CG, Robinson LF, Woodhall LC (2016) Plastic microfibre ingestion by deep-sea organisms. Sci Rep 6:33997
Torre CD, Bergami E, Salvati A, Faleri C, Cirino P, Dawson KA, Corsi I (2014) Accumulation and embryotoxicity of polystyrene nanoparticles at early stage of development of sea urchin embryos Paracentrotus lividus. Environ Sci Technol 48:12302–12311
Vidolin D, Santos IA, Freire CA (2007) Differences in ion. Regulation in the sea urchins Lytechinus variegatus and Arbacia lixula (Echinodermata: Echinoidea). J Mar Biol Assoc UK 87:769–775
Wells HW (1961) The fauna of oyster beds, with special reference to the salinity factor. Ecol Monogr 31:239–266
Wolff S, Kerpen J, Prediger J, Barkmann L, Muller L (2019) Determination of the microplastics emission in the effluent of a municipal waste water treatment plant using Raman microscopy. Water Res X 2:100014
The authors thank the Challenger Society for Marine Science’s Stepping Stones Bursary for financial support, Florida Gulf Coast University staff for the use of the Vester field station facilities, Bob Wasno for animal collections and support with setting up the aquarium, Brett Sutton for animal husbandry assistance, and Darren Rumbold for constructive comments on the manuscript.
About this article
Cite this article
Suckling, C.C., Richard, J. Short-Term Exposure to Storm-Like Scenario Microplastic and Salinity Conditions Does not Impact Adult Sea Urchin (Arbacia punctulata) Physiology. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 78, 495–500 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00244-020-00706-1