Event Title

Does habitat influence bivalve microplastic concentration?

Presentation Abstract

Microplastics (<5mm) are ubiquitous in the marine environment. Industrial and residential wastewaters are major sources of microplastics along with the degradation of macroplastics from recreational and commercial activities. There is increasing concern regarding the influence of fisheries and aquaculture industries on microplastic pollution and seafood. In southern British Columbia, shellfish aquaculture is an important industry, and shellfish aquaculture often uses plastic infrastructure (anti-predator netting, fencing, rope, cages, trays, floats). We conducted a study assess microplastic concentrations in bivalves found in deep water and intertidal habitats, including both farmed and un-farmed beaches. We focused on two commonly cultured species - Manila clams (Venerupis philippinarum) and Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas). To assess bivalves in farmed and un-farmed beaches, clams and oysters were transplanted from an initial population to 6 regions with varying degrees of farming intensity and left for 2-3 months. To compare deep water versus intertidal habitats, oysters were collected from three paired sites in 2 of the 6 regions. After collection, bivalves were chemically digested and analysed visually for microplastics. No differences were observed in microplastic concentration between farmed and un-farmed beaches for clams or oysters, or between deep water and intertidal habitats. Further, there appears to be no relationship between bivalve microplastic concentration and proximity to shellfish aquaculture. Our results suggest that habitat does not influence microplastic concentrations in the bivalves studied.

Session Title

Microplastic Pollution: a Troubling, Yet Tractable, Conservation Priority in the Salish Sea

Conference Track

SSE13: Plastics

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE13-639

Start Date

5-4-2018 4:15 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 4:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 4:15 PM Apr 5th, 4:30 PM

Does habitat influence bivalve microplastic concentration?

Microplastics (<5mm) are ubiquitous in the marine environment. Industrial and residential wastewaters are major sources of microplastics along with the degradation of macroplastics from recreational and commercial activities. There is increasing concern regarding the influence of fisheries and aquaculture industries on microplastic pollution and seafood. In southern British Columbia, shellfish aquaculture is an important industry, and shellfish aquaculture often uses plastic infrastructure (anti-predator netting, fencing, rope, cages, trays, floats). We conducted a study assess microplastic concentrations in bivalves found in deep water and intertidal habitats, including both farmed and un-farmed beaches. We focused on two commonly cultured species - Manila clams (Venerupis philippinarum) and Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas). To assess bivalves in farmed and un-farmed beaches, clams and oysters were transplanted from an initial population to 6 regions with varying degrees of farming intensity and left for 2-3 months. To compare deep water versus intertidal habitats, oysters were collected from three paired sites in 2 of the 6 regions. After collection, bivalves were chemically digested and analysed visually for microplastics. No differences were observed in microplastic concentration between farmed and un-farmed beaches for clams or oysters, or between deep water and intertidal habitats. Further, there appears to be no relationship between bivalve microplastic concentration and proximity to shellfish aquaculture. Our results suggest that habitat does not influence microplastic concentrations in the bivalves studied.