Presentation Abstract

Contamination of marine ecosystems with microplastics (plastic particles ≤ 5mm) is now recognized as a serious and growing threat to sealife. One major concern is that invertebrates, fish, seabirds and marine mammals mistake plastic for food, leading to suffocation, blockage of the gut and/or malnutrition. Microplastics have been detected in sediment around the world, highlighting the propensity of this matrix to serve as a sink. Due to their extensive filter-feeding activity, marine bivalves are directly exposed to this structural pollutant. In the present study, we investigate microplastics contamination in nearshore subtidal sediment and mussel samples collected at 43 sites along the British Columbia coast. Microplastics were extracted from a 50g sediment subsample using a newly-developed method based on oleophilic properties of microplastics while mussel soft tissues were digested using enzymes. All samples are currently being analyzed under light microscopy to count and characterize (shape, colour, size) microplastics particles. A subset of microplastics will then be analyzed using Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometry (FTIR) in order to characterize polymer types. Our results will help shed some light on the source, transport and fate of microplastics in coastal British Columbia.

Session Title

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

Keywords

Microplastics, Sediment, Mussels

Conference Track

SSE13: Plastics

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE13-432

Start Date

5-4-2018 4:30 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 4:45 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, 4:30 PM Apr 5th, 4:45 PM

Microplastics contamination in blue mussels (Mytilus edulis (L.)) and marine sediments along the coast of British Columbia, Canada

Contamination of marine ecosystems with microplastics (plastic particles ≤ 5mm) is now recognized as a serious and growing threat to sealife. One major concern is that invertebrates, fish, seabirds and marine mammals mistake plastic for food, leading to suffocation, blockage of the gut and/or malnutrition. Microplastics have been detected in sediment around the world, highlighting the propensity of this matrix to serve as a sink. Due to their extensive filter-feeding activity, marine bivalves are directly exposed to this structural pollutant. In the present study, we investigate microplastics contamination in nearshore subtidal sediment and mussel samples collected at 43 sites along the British Columbia coast. Microplastics were extracted from a 50g sediment subsample using a newly-developed method based on oleophilic properties of microplastics while mussel soft tissues were digested using enzymes. All samples are currently being analyzed under light microscopy to count and characterize (shape, colour, size) microplastics particles. A subset of microplastics will then be analyzed using Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometry (FTIR) in order to characterize polymer types. Our results will help shed some light on the source, transport and fate of microplastics in coastal British Columbia.