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Effects of microplastic on marine life and seafood safety

  • 1 June, 2021
  • Wageningen University, Marine Animal Ecology
  • prof. dr AJ Murk

Microplastics, particularly marine microplastics, are a major concern around the world. Microplastics in marine ecosystems come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Many studies have been conducted, both in the field and in the laboratory, to determine to what extent microplastics have an effect on the feeding behaviour, growth, and survival rate of organisms and the marine ecosystem. However, there still is inadequate evidence on the exposure level that is relevant to the marine environments microplastic concentration and the clear mechanism of marine microplastics affect organisms which are needed to make environmental risk assessment more reliable.
The overall goal of this research is to assist in the determination of the marine environmental risk assessment by investigating the mechanisms of marine microplastic exposure in marine environment and organisms. To achieve the goal, firstly, a review of popular and scientific literature will be made to identify and clarify the major reasons for public concern on marine microplastics. Secondly, experiments will be performed to test the hypothesis that there is a critical relationship between the size of the microplastic particle and the size of an organism and that this is affected by the shape of the MP particle. Furthermore, it will be tested if indigestible particles from natural sources have a similar effect as microplastics. Barnacles will be used as model species, as a previous multispecies mesocosm study identified barnacles as particularly sensitive to microplastic exposure. This research will contribute to a more accurate of the marine environmental risk assessment of microplastic exposure.

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Riri Ezraneti

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