Presentation Abstract

Extent of microplastics in Pacific Sand Lance burying habitat in the Salish Sea Willem Peters MRM candidate Simon Fraser University, Dr. Cliff Robinson Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Dr. Karen Kohfeld Simon Fraser University, Dr. Marlow Pellatt Parks Canada, Dr. Doug Bertram Environment and Climate Change Canada School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6 CANADA, willemp@sfu.ca The ingestion of microplastics by forage fish and their subsequent accumulation and transfer up the coastal food web is a growing concern to scientists, government, fisheries, and the health sector. One key forage species in the Salish Sea, the Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), buries in low silt, medium coarse sand patches from chart datum to 100 m depth. In the southern Salish Sea near Sidney, several of these burying habitats are located in the vicinity of sewage discharge pipes and may be subject to microplastic accumulation. This research assesses the level of microplastic accumulation in Pacific sand lance burying habitats in the Salish Sea. Seafloor sediment samples were collected in Spring-Fall 2017, using a Van Veen grab sampler. Samples were collected at different distances from shore and effluent discharge pipes, and from a variety of depths and tidal currents. Microplastic concentrations were determined from the sediment samples in the laboratory using standard methods, while controlling for contamination. The main results indicate a significant correlation between suitable Pacific sand lance burying habitat and higher microplastic concentrations. We also found a strong imbalance of microplastic type and colour, with blue fibres making up the majority of microplastics found. The relationship between microplastics and Pacific sand lance habitat suitability is not intuitive in that higher concentrations of microplastics were found in sediments that suggest higher current rates, where settling dynamics would suggest that fewer particles would settle. Possible explanations include evacuation of microplastics from sand lance when buried, the proximity of suitable habitat to effluent discharge, or other as yet unexplored factors. Overall, the presence of microplastics in the burying habitats and stomachs of Pacific sand lance (as noted in other research) indicates more research is required to understand the implication to higher trophic level species that feed upon Pacific sand lance, such as chinook and coho salmon, various groundfish, fish-eating alcids, and marine mammals such as the humpback whale. Ultimately, strategies to reduce microplastics entering the Salish Sea will need to be implemented.

Session Title

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

Keywords

Microplastics, Pacific sand lance, Salish Sea

Conference Track

SSE13: Plastics

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE13-488

Start Date

5-4-2018 4:45 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 5:00 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, 4:45 PM Apr 5th, 5:00 PM

Extent of microplastics in Pacific Sand Lance burying habitat in the Salish Sea

Extent of microplastics in Pacific Sand Lance burying habitat in the Salish Sea Willem Peters MRM candidate Simon Fraser University, Dr. Cliff Robinson Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Dr. Karen Kohfeld Simon Fraser University, Dr. Marlow Pellatt Parks Canada, Dr. Doug Bertram Environment and Climate Change Canada School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6 CANADA, willemp@sfu.ca The ingestion of microplastics by forage fish and their subsequent accumulation and transfer up the coastal food web is a growing concern to scientists, government, fisheries, and the health sector. One key forage species in the Salish Sea, the Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), buries in low silt, medium coarse sand patches from chart datum to 100 m depth. In the southern Salish Sea near Sidney, several of these burying habitats are located in the vicinity of sewage discharge pipes and may be subject to microplastic accumulation. This research assesses the level of microplastic accumulation in Pacific sand lance burying habitats in the Salish Sea. Seafloor sediment samples were collected in Spring-Fall 2017, using a Van Veen grab sampler. Samples were collected at different distances from shore and effluent discharge pipes, and from a variety of depths and tidal currents. Microplastic concentrations were determined from the sediment samples in the laboratory using standard methods, while controlling for contamination. The main results indicate a significant correlation between suitable Pacific sand lance burying habitat and higher microplastic concentrations. We also found a strong imbalance of microplastic type and colour, with blue fibres making up the majority of microplastics found. The relationship between microplastics and Pacific sand lance habitat suitability is not intuitive in that higher concentrations of microplastics were found in sediments that suggest higher current rates, where settling dynamics would suggest that fewer particles would settle. Possible explanations include evacuation of microplastics from sand lance when buried, the proximity of suitable habitat to effluent discharge, or other as yet unexplored factors. Overall, the presence of microplastics in the burying habitats and stomachs of Pacific sand lance (as noted in other research) indicates more research is required to understand the implication to higher trophic level species that feed upon Pacific sand lance, such as chinook and coho salmon, various groundfish, fish-eating alcids, and marine mammals such as the humpback whale. Ultimately, strategies to reduce microplastics entering the Salish Sea will need to be implemented.