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Plastic and natural inorganic microparticles do not differ in their effects on adult mussels (Mytilidae) from different geographic regions


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Hamm, T, Barkhau, J, Gabriel, A-L, Gottschalck, LL, Greulich, M, Houiller, D, Kawata, U, Tump, LN, Leon, AS, Vasconcelos, P, Yap, V, Almeida, C, Chase, Z ORCID: 0000-0001-5060-779X, Hurd, CL ORCID: 0000-0001-9965-4917, Lavers, JL ORCID: 0000-0001-7596-6588, Nakoaka, M, Rilov, G, Thiel, M, Wright, JT ORCID: 0000-0002-1085-4582 and Lenz, M 2022 , 'Plastic and natural inorganic microparticles do not differ in their effects on adult mussels (Mytilidae) from different geographic regions' , The Science of The Total Environment, vol. 811 , pp. 1-11 , doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151740.

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Microplastics are ubiquitous in the marine environment and studies on their effects on benthic filter feeders at least partly revealed a negative influence. However, it is still unclear whether the effects of microplastics differ from those of natural suspended microparticles, which constitute a common stressor in many coastal environments. We present a series of experiments that compared the effects of six-week exposures of marine mussels to two types of natural particles (red clay and diatom shells) to two types of plastic particles (Polymethyl Methacrylate and Polyvinyl Chloride). Mussels of the family Mytilidae from temperate regions (Japan, Chile, Tasmania) through subtropical (Israel) to tropical environments (Cabo Verde) were exposed to concentrations of 1.5 mg/L, 15 mg/L and 150 mg/L of the respective microparticles. At the end of this period, we found significant effects of suspended particles on respiration rate, byssus production and condition index of the animals. There was no significant effect on clearance rate and survival. Surprisingly, we observed only small differences between the effects of the different types of particles, which suggests that the mussels were generally equally robust towards exposure to variable concentrations of suspended solids regardless of whether they were natural or plastic. We conclude, that microplastics and suspended solids elicit similar effects on the tested response variables, and that both types of microparticles mainly cause acute responses rather than more persistent carry-over effects.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hamm, T and Barkhau, J and Gabriel, A-L and Gottschalck, LL and Greulich, M and Houiller, D and Kawata, U and Tump, LN and Leon, AS and Vasconcelos, P and Yap, V and Almeida, C and Chase, Z and Hurd, CL and Lavers, JL and Nakoaka, M and Rilov, G and Thiel, M and Wright, JT and Lenz, M
Keywords: marine debris, plastic pollution, polymer type, mussel, invertebrate
Journal or Publication Title: The Science of The Total Environment
Publisher: Elsevier Science Bv
ISSN: 0048-9697
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151740
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Copyright 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

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