Testing indicators for biological impacts of microplastics .
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The EU is still far from its goal of achieving healthy seas and part of the problem is due to marine litter (European Commission, 2014). Plastic materials invariably make up the dominant fraction of marine litter and there are particular concerns regarding the impacts of plastic microlitter (plastic particles in the range of a few nanometers up to 5 mm). The small size, persistence and ubiquity of these ‘microplastics’ in both pelagic and benthic ecosystems means they have the potential to be ingested, along with naturally occurring particulate matter, by a wide array of marine biota with unknown consequences for Darwinian fitness parameters (growth, survival, performance, reproduction). Due to the varying size, buoyancy and composition of marine litter, ingestion will vary for litter types between feeding guilds; planktivores and filter feeders will encounter low-density litter fragments suspended in the upper water column whereas high density litter fragments are more likely.....
PublisherVU University, Institute for Environmental Studies
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)14.A
Essential Ocean Variables (EOV)Zooplankton biomass and diversity
Macroalgal canopy cover and composition
Fish abundance and distribution
Microbe biomass and diversity
Best Practice TypeBest Practice
Spatial CoverageEuropean Seas
CitationCleanSea Project (2016) Testing indicators for biological impacts of microplastics. Amsterdam, Netherlands, VU University, Institute for Environmental Studies, 5pp. (D2_2factsheet)