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Microplastics in freshwater fishes: occurrence, impacts and future perspectives.

Parker, B, Andreou, D., Green, I. D. and Britton, J.R., 2021. Microplastics in freshwater fishes: occurrence, impacts and future perspectives. Fish and Fisheries, 22 (3), 467-488.

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DOI: 10.1111/faf.12528


Microplastics (MPs) are small, plastic particles of various shapes, sizes and polymers. Although well studied in marine systems, their roles and importance in freshwater environments remain uncertain. Nevertheless, the restricted ranges and variable traits of freshwater fishes result in their communities being important receptors and strong bioindicators of MP pollution. Here, the current knowledge on MPs in freshwater fishes is synthesised, along with the development of recommendations for future research and sample processing. MPs are commonly ingested and passively taken up by numerous freshwater fishes, with ingestion patterns often related to individual traits (e.g. body size, trophic level) and environmental factors (e.g. local urbanisation, habitat features). Controlled exposure studies highlight a range of MP effects on fish physiology, biochemistry and behaviour that are often complex, unpredictable, species-specific, and non-linear in respect of dose-response relationships. Egestion is typically rapid and effective, although particles of a particular shape and/ or size may remain, or translocate across the intestinal wall to other organs via the blood. Regarding future studies, there is a need to understand the interactions of MP pollution with other anthropogenic stressors (e.g. warming, nutrient enrichment), with a concomitant requirement to increase the complexity of studies to enable impact assessment at population, community and ecosystem levels, and to determine whether there are consequences for processes, such as parasite transmission, where microplastics could vector parasites or increase infection susceptibility. This knowledge will determine the extent to which MP pollution can be considered a major anthropogenic stressor of freshwaters in this era of global environmental change.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Research Funding Fisheries Society of the British Isles. Grant Number: FSBI‐funded PhD Studentship
Uncontrolled Keywords:anthropogenic stressors; bioindicators; effects; egestion; exposure; ingestion
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:35071
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 11:58
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:25


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