Publications by year
Porter A, Barber D, Hobbs C, Love J, Power AL, Bakir A, Galloway TS, Lewis C
(2023). Uptake of microplastics by marine worms depends on feeding mode and particle shape but not exposure time. Sci Total Environ
Uptake of microplastics by marine worms depends on feeding mode and particle shape but not exposure time.
The uptake of microplastics into marine species has been widely documented across trophic levels. Feeding mode is suggested as playing an important role in determining different contamination loads across species, but this theory is poorly supported with empirical evidence. Here we use the two distinct feeding modes of the benthic polychaete, Hediste diversicolor (The Harbour Ragworm) (O.F. Müller, 1776), to test the hypothesis that filter feeding will lead to a greater uptake of microplastic particles than deposit feeding. Worms were exposed to both polyamide microfragments and microfibres in either water (as filter feeders) or sediment (as deposit feeders) for 1 week. No effect of exposure time was found between 1 day and 1 week (p > 0.19) but feeding mode was found to significantly affect the number of microfibres recovered from each worm (p < 0.001). When exposed to microfibers, filter feeding worms took up ≈15,000 % more fibres than deposit feeding worms (p < 0.001), whereas when feeding on microfragments there was no difference between feeding modes. Our data demonstrate that both feeding mode and particle characteristics significantly influence the uptake of microplastics by H. diversicolor. Using imaging flow cytometry, filter feeders were found to take up a broader size range of particles, with significantly more smaller and larger particles than deposit feeders (p < 0.05), commensurate with the range of plastics isolated from the guts of ragworms recovered from the environment. These results demonstrate that biological traits are useful in understanding the uptake of plastics into marine worms and warrant further exploration as a tool for understanding the bioaccessibility of plastics to marine organisms. Abstract
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Thrift E, Porter A, Galloway TS, Coomber FG, Mathews F
(2022). Ingestion of plastics by terrestrial small mammals. Sci Total Environ
Ingestion of plastics by terrestrial small mammals.
The exposure of wildlife to waste plastic is widely recognised as an issue for aquatic ecosystems but very little is known about terrestrial systems. Here, we addressed the hypothesis that UK small mammals are ingesting plastics by examining faecal samples for the presence of plastic using micro Fourier Transform infrared microscopy. Plastic polymers were detected in four out of the seven species examined (European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus); field vole (Microtus agrestis); brown rat (Rattus norvegicus)). Ingestion occurred across species of differing dietary habits (herbivorous, insectivorous and omnivorous) and locations (urban versus non-urban). Densities excreted were comparable with those reported in human studies. The prevalence of confirmed plastics in the 261 faecal samples was 16.5 % (95 % CI 13 %, 22 %). Most (70 %) of the 60 plastic fragments were Abstract
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Lewis C, Jones JS, Guézou A, Medor S, Nickson C, Savage G, Alarcón-Ruales D, Galloway TS, Muñoz-Pérez JP, Nelms SE, et al (2022). Microplastic Distribution and Composition on Two Galápagos Island Beaches, Ecuador: a Spatiotemporal Assessment Using Citizen Science Derived Data.
Jones JS, Guézou A, Medor S, Nickson C, Savage G, Alarcón-Ruales D, Galloway TS, Muñoz-Pérez JP, Nelms SE, Porter A, et al (2022). Microplastic distribution and composition on two Galápagos island beaches, Ecuador: Verifying the use of citizen science derived data in long-term monitoring. Environmental Pollution, 311, 120011-120011.
Savage G, Porter A, Simpson SD
(2022). Uptake of microplastics by the snakelocks anemone (Anemonia viridis) is commonplace across environmental conditions. Sci Total Environ
Uptake of microplastics by the snakelocks anemone (Anemonia viridis) is commonplace across environmental conditions.
Microplastics ( Abstract
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Jones JS, Porter A, Muñoz-Pérez JP, Alarcón-Ruales D, Galloway TS, Godley BJ, Santillo D, Vagg J, Lewis C
(2021). Plastic contamination of a Galapagos Island (Ecuador) and the relative risks to native marine species. Science of the Total Environment
Plastic contamination of a Galapagos Island (Ecuador) and the relative risks to native marine species
Ecuador's Galapagos Islands and their unique biodiversity are a global conservation priority. We explored the presence, composition and environmental drivers of plastic contamination across the marine ecosystem at an island scale, investigated uptake in marine invertebrates and designed a systematic priority scoring analysis to identify the most vulnerable vertebrate species. Beach contamination varied by site (macroplastic 0–0.66 items·m−2, microplastics 0–448.8 particles·m−2 or 0–74.6 particles·kg−1), with high plastic accumulation on east-facing beaches that are influenced by the Humboldt Current. Local littering and waste management leakages accounted for just 2% of macroplastic. Microplastics (including anthropogenic cellulosics) were ubiquitous but in low concentrations in benthic sediments (6.7–86.7 particles·kg−1) and surface seawater (0.04–0.89 particles·m−3), with elevated concentrations in the harbour suggesting some local input. Microplastics were present in all seven marine invertebrate species examined, found in 52% of individuals (n = 123) confirming uptake of microplastics in the Galapagos marine food web. Priority scoring analysis combining species distribution information, IUCN Red List conservation status and literature evidence of harm from entanglement and ingestion of plastics in similar species identified 27 marine vertebrates in need of urgent, targeted monitoring and mitigation including pinnipeds, seabirds, turtles and sharks. Abstract
Pereira JM, Rodríguez Y, Blasco-Monleon S, Porter A, Lewis C, Pham CK
(2020). Microplastic in the stomachs of open-ocean and deep-sea fishes of the North-East Atlantic. Environmental Pollution
Microplastic in the stomachs of open-ocean and deep-sea fishes of the North-East Atlantic
The presence of microplastic in marine fishes has been well documented but few studies have directly examined differences between fishes occupying contrasting environmental compartments. In the present study, we investigated the gut contents of 390 fishes belonging to three pelagic (blue jack mackerel, chub mackerel, skipjack tuna) and two deep-sea species (blackbelly rosefish, blackspot seabream) from the Azores archipelago, North-East Atlantic for microplastic contamination. Our results revealed that pelagic species had significantly more microplastic than the deep-water species. In all of the species studied, fragments were the most common plastic shape recovered and we found a significant difference in the type of polymer between the pelagic and deep-water species. In deep-sea fish we found almost exclusively polypropylene, whereas in the pelagic fish, polyethylene was the most abundant polymer type. Overall, the proportion of fish containing plastic items varied across our study species from 3.7% to 16.7% of individuals sampled, and the average abundance of plastic items ranged from 0.04 to 0.22 per individual (the maximum was 4 items recovered in one stomach). Despite the proximity of the Azores archipelago to the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, a region of elevated plastic abundance, the proportion of individuals containing plastic (9.49%) were comparable with data reported elsewhere. Abstract