Inter-Research > MEPS > v724 > p17-32  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 724:17-32 (2023)  -  DOI:

Little evidence for bioaccumulation or biomagnification of microplastics in a deep-sea food web

Ludovic Hermabessiere1,*, Clara Thaysen1, Cassandra Sherlock1, C. Anela Choy2, Chelsea M. Rochman1

1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3B2, Canada
2Integrative Oceanography Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Microplastic contamination is documented in marine organisms, but little is known about bioaccumulation or biomagnification of microplastics, especially in tissues external to the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. The objective of this work was to explore microplastic contamination in GI tracts and other tissues (abdomen and tail in crustaceans; mantle in cephalopods; fillets in fishes) of species at different trophic levels sampled in a deep-sea food web in Monterey Bay, CA, USA. The species included are tuna crab Pleuroncodes planipes, market squid Doryteuthis opalescens, northern lampfish Stenobrachius leucopsarus, chub mackerel Scomber japonicus, California halibut Paralichthys californicus, and Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. After chemical digestion, microplastics in GI tracts were quantified and identified to material type using μ-Raman spectroscopy and in other tissues using pyrolysis-GC/MS. The concentrations of microplastics in GI tracts were significantly different among species, and microplastic contamination was dominated by microfibers. The concentrations of microplastics (mainly polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride) in other tissues also varied among species. A significant positive correlation between body size and plastic concentration in other tissues was observed for halibut only, suggesting bioaccumulation may not be ubiquitous. The trophic magnification factor for microplastics beyond the GI tract was <1, suggesting that biomagnification is not occurring in tissues. However, we did observe evidence for biomagnification of microplastics in the GI tracts. Future studies are needed to better understand these patterns and the mechanisms for translocation, bioaccumulation, and biomagnification of microplastics in aquatic organisms.

KEY WORDS: Monterey Bay · Pyrolysis-GC/MS · Trophic transfer · Microfiber

Full text in pdf format
Supplementary Material
Cite this article as: Hermabessiere L, Thaysen C, Sherlock C, Choy CA, Rochman CM (2023) Little evidence for bioaccumulation or biomagnification of microplastics in a deep-sea food web. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 724:17-32.

Export citation
Share:    Facebook - - linkedIn

 Previous article Next article