Benthic fauna contribute to microplastic sequestration in coastal sediments

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Coppock , R L , Lindeque , P K , Cole , M , Galloway , T S , Nakki , P , Birgani , H , Richards , S & Queiros , A M 2021 , ' Benthic fauna contribute to microplastic sequestration in coastal sediments ' , Journal of Hazardous Materials , vol. 415 , 125583 .

Title: Benthic fauna contribute to microplastic sequestration in coastal sediments
Author: Coppock, Rachel L.; Lindeque, Penelope K.; Cole, Matthew; Galloway, Tamara S.; Nakki, Pinja; Birgani, Hannah; Richards, Saskiya; Queiros, Ana M.
Contributor organization: Marine Ecosystems Research Group
Tvärminne Zoological Station
Date: 2021-08-05
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Journal of Hazardous Materials
ISSN: 0304-3894
Abstract: Microplastics are ubiquitous in the marine environment, however, the mechanisms governing their uptake by, and burial within, seabed habitats are poorly understood. In this study, microplastic burial and its impact on fauna-mediated sedimentary processes was quantified at three coastal sites, and the potential contribution of burrowing faunal communities to this process assessed via functional trait diversity analysis of field data. In addition, laboratory exposures were used to assess whether sediment-processing undertaken by the brittlestar Amphiura filiformis, a key species in the sampled area, could explain the burial of microplastic fibres. Field observations confirmed broad-scale burial of microplastics across the coastal seabed, consistent across sites and seasons, with microplastic sequestration linked to benthic-pelagic exchange pathways, driven by burrowing fauna. Brittlestars were observed to bury and line their burrow walls with microfibres during experiments, and their burial activity was also modified following exposure to nylon fibres, relative to controls. Collectively, these results indicate that biodiverse and functionally important seabed habitats act as microplastic sinks, with burrowing fauna contributing to this process via well-known benthic-pelagic pathways, the rates of which are modified by plastic exposure.
Subject: Marine pollution
Microplastic fate
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1172 Environmental sciences
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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