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Distinct microplastic patterns in the sediment and biota of an urban stream.

Parker, B., Britton, J.R., Pabortsava, K., Barrow, M., Green, I. D., Dominguez Almela, V. and Andreou, D., 2022. Distinct microplastic patterns in the sediment and biota of an urban stream. Science of the Total Environment, 838 (3), 156477.

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Parker et al_urban stream.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156477


Urban freshwaters, their sediments and resident biota are often highly susceptible to microplastic contamination from catchment-specific sources. Water velocity and spatiotemporal dynamics within the system can impact microplastic loads, while biological features may additionally impact levels within freshwater biota. Here, we investigated the spatiotemporal variations in microplastic loads collected from sediment, macroinvertebrate and fish samples from an urban watercourse (Bourne Stream) in Dorset, southwest England. Sediment particles were mostly fragments of colours (especially orange and purple) whereas microplastics in both macroinvertebrates and fishes were blue/green and fibres. Across all sample types, the dominant particle size class was ≤100 μm. Median (M) and range (R) of microplastic loads within each sample type were sediment: M = 0.06, R = 0-0.36 particles g-1; macroinvertebrates: M = 0, R = 0-4 particles per batch; and fishes: M = 1, R = 0-6 particles per individual. Sediment loads varied spatially, with the highest load in the most upstream site, whereas biotic loads did not vary across space and time. Macroinvertebrate batch loadings varied between taxa and feeding guild, with counts significantly higher in annelids but lower in herbivores. Fish counts were higher in species with true, differentiated stomachs, but with the effects of species, feeding guild and body size being non-significant. Within sites, mean microplastic loads did not correlate between sediment, macroinvertebrate and fish samples. These results suggest that sediment freshwater microplastic loadings may vary spatially but that these trends are not reflected by, or correlated to, those in the biota where ingestion varies with biological traits. Assessments of freshwater microplastic contamination must therefore consider sampling spatiotemporally and across different biotic communities to fully understand the scale of contamination, and to subsequently undertake effective mitigation steps.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:fish; freshwater; macroinvertebrates; plastic pollution; spatiotemporal variation
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:37043
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:09 Jun 2022 08:40
Last Modified:09 Jun 2022 08:40


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