Publications by year
Nazareth MC, Marques MRC, Pinheiro LM, Castro ÍB
(2022). Key issues for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics governance. J Environ Manage
Key issues for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics governance.
Among global efforts facing plastic pollution, their gradual replacement with alternative materials has gained strength during the last decade. We identified five stakeholders and their respective key participation in the chain of bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics (BBCP), which have contributed to several flaws on governance of these materials. The widespread unfamiliarity of the consumers about biodegradability concepts has been leading to misguided purchase decisions and disposal practices, along with possible littering behavior. Simultaneously, the adoption of greenwashing practices by stores and manufacturers contribute to disseminating misguided decisions on plastic consumption. Such issues are further aggravated by the lack of certification standards concerning the impact of littering, including the assessment of persistency and toxicity, also covering those made with biodegradable plastics.". Moreover, even though such alternative polymers were originally conceived as a strategy to minimize plastics pollution, the almost inexistence of specific regulatory frameworks in different political scales may convert them in a relevant part of the problem. Therefore, the governance systems and management strategies need to incorporate BBCP as potentially hazardous waste as they do for conventional plastics. Abstract
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Pinheiro LM, Britz LMK, Agostini VO, Pérez-Parada A, García-Rodríguez F, Galloway TS, Pinho GLL
(2022). Salt marshes as the final watershed fate for meso- and microplastic contamination: a case study from Southern Brazil. Sci Total Environ
Salt marshes as the final watershed fate for meso- and microplastic contamination: a case study from Southern Brazil.
Plastics pose a major threat to aquatic ecosystems especially in smaller size fractions. Salt marshes play a crucial role in maintaining the coastal zone and aquatic food web, yet their contamination, including by plastic materials, is still poorly investigated. This work investigated meso- (MEP, 5-25 mm) and microplastic (MIP, 1 μm-5 mm) contamination of a salt marsh, which reached average levels of 279.63 ± 410.12 items kg-1, 366.92 ± 975.18 items kg-1, and 8.89 ± 8.75 items L-1 in surface sediment, sediment cores and water, respectively. Photomicrographs revealed a complex fouling community on plastics surface for both different salt marsh zones and plastic formats. Abundance of plastics in sediment was higher in the dryer, vegetated zones compared to flooded, unvegetated zones. This is consistent with the role of vegetation as a trap for solid litter and final fate of plastic deposition, but also with local hydrodynamics influencing deposition pattern. Plastics were detected up to 66 cm-depth, presenting higher levels at surface sediments. It was also possible to identify the main groups of microorganisms (1638 bacterial cells, 318 microalgae cells, and 20049.93 μm2 of filamentous fungi) composing the Plastisphere communities on all plastic items recorded in the different zones. These results are a pioneer contribution, highlighting that regional salt marshes participate in sequestration and longstanding accumulation of plastic particles in estuarine environments, before exportation to the ocean. Abstract
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Pinheiro LM, Carvalho IV, Agostini VO, Martinez-Souza G, Galloway TS, Pinho GLL
(2021). Litter contamination at a salt marsh: an ecological niche for biofouling in South Brazil. Environmental Pollution
Litter contamination at a salt marsh: an ecological niche for biofouling in South Brazil
The presence of solid litter and its consequences for coastal ecosystems is now being investigated around the world. Different types of material can be discarded in areas such as salt marshes, and various fouling organisms can associate with such items forming the Plastisphere. This study investigated the distribution of solid litter along zones (dry, middle, flooded) of a salt marsh environment in the Patos Lagoon Estuary (South Brazil) and the association of biofouling organisms with these items. Solid litter quantities were significantly higher in the dry zone when compared to the middle and flooded zones, showing an accumulation area where the water rarely reaches. Most items were made of plastic, as shown for many other coastal areas, and originated from food packaging, fishery and shipping activities and personal use. Although not statistically significant, there was a tendency of increased biofouling towards the flooded zone. Thirteen groups were found in association with solid litter items, mainly algae, amphipods, and gastropods. The preference for salt marsh zones, types of material and items’ colour was highly variable among groups of organisms, which can be related to their varied physiological requirements. In summary, significant plastic contamination of salt marshes of the Patos Lagoon was associated with a heterogeneous distribution of fouling communities. Abstract
Bueno C, Alves FL, Pinheiro LM, Perez L, Agostini VO, Fernandes EHL, Möller OO, Weschenfelder J, Pinho GLL, Wallner-Kersanach M, et al
(2021). The effect of agricultural intensification and water-locking on the world's largest coastal lagoonal system. Sci Total Environ
The effect of agricultural intensification and water-locking on the world's largest coastal lagoonal system.
The palaeolimnological conditions of Mirim Lagoon, a large coastal shallow lagoon under the influence of historical human impacts related to the development of the primary sector of the economy were reconstructed. The first significant human impact consisted of locking the estuarine system to induce the transition from brackish to freshwater conditions. During this transition, the sedimentation rate consistently increased from pre-disturbance values of 0.25 cm yr-1 to >1 cm yr-1. A concomitant increase in nitrogen and carbon values was recorded indicating a related eutrophication process. The highest nutrient levels were achieved during the 1990s after the incorporation of cutting-edge technologies for agricultural production such as high-yielding varieties of rice resistant to climate variability and pests, and the use of inorganic fertilisers, pesticides and water supply controlled by irrigation. After 2011, the soybean production boosted and the area cultivated with this oilseed equalled the area of rice paddies, i.e. 2 × 105 ha. A sharp decrease in δ13C from -19 to -24‰ and in δ15N from 6 to 2‰ were observed in the sedimentary record, indicating a major shift in the composition of the organic matter after the agricultural intensification. Trace elements Cr, Cu, Ni and Zn showed a high positive correlation with Al and Fe, and enrichment factors near 1, indicating a natural and terrigenous source of these elements and also unpolluted conditions. However, the increase of As after 1990 and the positive correlation with Pb was associated with agricultural practices. All elemental ratios (K/Al, Ti/Al and V/Cr) showed constant pre-disturbance trends and a turning point ca. the 1990s. Microplastics were detected from the beginning of the 1990s and increased towards recent sediments, thus corroborating an anthropogenically impacted scenario. Therefore, the development of the primary sector of the economy exerted clear impacts on the environmental quality of the system. Abstract
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Pinheiro LM, Agostini VO, Lima ARA, Ward RD, Pinho GLL
(2021). The fate of plastic litter within estuarine compartments: an overview of current knowledge for the transboundary issue to guide future assessments. Environ Pollut
The fate of plastic litter within estuarine compartments: an overview of current knowledge for the transboundary issue to guide future assessments.
Plastics can enter biogeochemical cycles and thus be found in most ecosystems. Most studies emphasize plastic pollution in oceanic ecosystems even though rivers and estuaries are acknowledged as the main sources of plastics to the oceans. This review detected few studies approaching the transboundary issue, as well as patterns of estuarine gradients in predicting plastic distribution and accumulation in water, sediments, and organisms. Quantities of plastics in estuaries reach up to 45,500 items m-3 in water, 567,000 items m-3 in sediment, and 131 items per individual in the biota. The role of rivers and estuaries in the transport of plastics to the ocean is far from fully understood due to small sample sizes, short-term approaches, sampling techniques that underestimate small plastics, and the use of site-specific sampling rather than covering environmental gradients. Microfibres are the most commonly found plastic type in all environmental matrices but efforts to re-calculate pathways using novel sampling techniques and estimates are incipient. Microplastic availability to estuarine organisms and rising/sinking is determined by polymer characteristics and spatio-temporal fluctuations in physicochemical, biological, and mineralogical factors. Key processes governing plastic contamination along estuarine trophic webs remain unclear, as most studies used "species" as an ecological unit rather than trophic/functional guilds and ontogenetic shifts in feeding behaviour to understand communities and intraspecific relationships, respectively. Efforts to understand contamination at the tissue level and the contribution of biofouling organisms as vectors of contaminants onto plastic surfaces are increasing. In conclusion, rivers and estuaries still require attention with regards to accurate sampling and conclusions. Multivariate analysis and robust models are necessary to predict the fate of micro- and macroplastics in estuarine environments; and the inclusion of the socio-economic aspects in modelling techniques seems to be relevant regarding management approaches. Abstract
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(2021). Uptake and ingestion are the main pathways for microplastics to enter marine benthos: a review (vol 24, e00150, 2020). FOOD WEBS
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Pinheiro LM, Ivar do Sul JA, Costa MF
(2020). Uptake and ingestion are the main pathways for microplastics to enter marine benthos: a review. FOOD WEBS
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Pinheiro LM, Monteiro RCP, Ivar do Sul JA, Costa MF
(2019). Do beachrocks affect microplastic deposition on the strandline of sandy beaches?. Mar Pollut Bull
Do beachrocks affect microplastic deposition on the strandline of sandy beaches?
The strandline is one of the first deposition habitats of microplastics before they are integrated to the beach as a standing stock or finally removed. Beaches, entirely or partially protected by beachrocks, have different sediment dynamics and therefore may present variation in microplastic deposition. The aim of this work was to test if protected and unprotected (i.e. exposed to waves) areas of a sandy beach present different microplastic accumulation on the strandline - a habitat greatly influenced by both water and sediment dynamics. Microplastic (MP) amounts were significantly higher at the protected area (Mprotected = 642.6 ± 514.8 MP m-2, Mexposed = 130.6 ± 126.8 MP m-2, Mann-Whitney U test, U = 14.5, p = 0.0009), showing that beachrocks influence microplastic accumulation on the beach face. Therefore, hard structures parallel to the beach may also affect microplastics deposition on beach sediments, being important to consider these structures on microplastic surveys. Abstract
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Chambouvet A, Valigurová A, Pinheiro LM, Richards TA, Jirků M
(2016). Nematopsis temporariae (Gregarinasina, Apicomplexa, Alveolata) is an intracellular infectious agent of tadpole livers. Environ Microbiol Rep
Nematopsis temporariae (Gregarinasina, Apicomplexa, Alveolata) is an intracellular infectious agent of tadpole livers.
Amphibians are in decline as a result of habitat destruction, climate change and infectious diseases. Tadpoles are thought susceptible to infections because they are dependent on only an innate immune system (e.g. macrophages). This is because the frog adaptive immune system does not function until later stages of their life cycle. In 1920, Nöller described a putative infectious agent of tadpoles named Nematopsis temporariae, which he putatively assigned to gregarine protists (Apicomplexa). Here, we identify a gregarine infection of tadpoles using both microscopy and ribosomal DNA sequencing of three different frog species (Rana temporaria, R. dalmatina, and Hyla arborea). We show that this protist lineage belongs to the subclass Gregarinasina Dufour 1828 and is regularly present in macrophages located in liver sinusoids of tadpoles, confirming the only known case of a gregarine infection of a vertebrate. Abstract
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