Significant decline of Daphnia magna population biomass due to microplastic exposure

Bosker, Thijs; Olthof, Gabriël; Vijver, Martina G.; Baas, Jan; Barmentlo, S. Henrik. 2019 Significant decline of Daphnia magna population biomass due to microplastic exposure. Environmental Pollution, 250. 669-675.

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Even though microplastics are intensively studied, the focus of the research is mainly on relatively short term effects at high doses. Therefore there is a need to shift the focus toward more realistic, longer-term endpoints. Studies with a range of chemicals have shown that the response of populations often differs from studies in which a single organism is exposed in an individual container (as often described within standard ecotox screening assays). Here we investigate the impact of primary microplastics (1–5 μm in size) on a population of Daphnia magna. We first allowed a stable population of D. magna to develop over 29 d, after which the populations were exposed to microplastics for three weeks (concentrations ranging from 102 to 105 particles mL−1 and a control). We found a significant impact of microplastics on the total population of D. magna, with a reduction in the amount of adult daphnids. Importantly, when expressed as total biomass, exposure to 105 microplastics mL−1 resulted in a 21% reduction in total biomass compared to control. These results indicate that exposure to microplastics can result in significant adverse effects on the population of D. magna, including a reduction in the number of individuals as well as total biomass. Given the importance of D. magna in freshwater food webs, both as a grazer as well as a food source, this can potentially impact the functioning of the ecosystem.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0269-7491
Additional Keywords: Daphnia magna, carrying capacity, microplastics, chronic toxicity, population dynamics
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 13 May 2019 15:08 +0 (UTC)

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