“Assessing the relationship between the abundance of microplastics in filter and active feeding invertebrates with their surrounding environment”

Mario Esteban Gaitan Arce

Microplastics (MP) are ubiquitous in the oceans, and they are distributed throughout the water column, sediments and in marine organisms. Because of their small dimensions, MP have a similar size range as planktonic organisms and other suspended particles, making them available to an array of marine invertebrates. The uptake of these particles is influenced by organisms feeding mode. In the present study, relationships of MP abundance in invertebrates with the environment were studied. Also, an evaluation of the potential of MP accumulation in commercial species was carried out. A significant relationship was found between MP levels in the sediment and the filter feeder organism. Similarly, a significant correlation was found between MP abundance in the water and active feeding organisms. Results showed no significant differences in the potential of MP accumulation among feeding methods. However, the potential accumulation of MP in filter feeders among rocky and sandy substrates is significantly different. Due to limitations on this study, it is was difficult to reach statistically-sound conclusions, therefore results should be read with caution.