Characterization of microplastics ingested by marine benthos - a methodological and field-experimental study

Scapinello, Sara (2017) Characterization of microplastics ingested by marine benthos - a methodological and field-experimental study. [Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Biologia marina [LM-DM270] - Ravenna
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Microplastics have become ubiquitous pollutants in the marine environment. Ingestion of microplastics by a wide range of marine organisms has been recorded both in laboratory and field studies. Despite growing concern for microplastics, few studies have evaluated their concentrations and distribution in wild populations. Further, there is a need to identify cost-effective standardized methodologies for microplastics extraction and analysis in organisms. In this thesis I present: (i) the results of a multi-scale field sampling to quantify and characterize microplastics occurrence and distribution in 4 benthic marine invertebrates from saltmarshes along the North Adriatic Italian coastal lagoons; (ii) a comparison of the effects and cost-effectiveness of two extraction protocols for microplastics isolation on microfibers and on wild collected organisms; (iii) the development of a novel field- based technique to quantify and characterize the microplastic uptake rates of wild and farmed populations of mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) through the analysis of their biodeposits. I found very low and patchy amounts of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tracts of sampled organisms. The omnivorous crab Carcinus aestuarii was the species with the highest amounts of microplastics, but there was a notable variation among individuals. There were no substantial differences between enzymatic and alkaline extraction methods. However, the alkaline extraction was quicker and cheaper. Biodeposit traps proved to be an effective method to estimate mussel ingestion rates. However their performance differed significantly among sites, suggesting that the method, as currently designed, is sensible to local environmental conditions. There were no differences in the ingestion rates of microplastics between farmed and wild mussels. The estimates of microplastic ingestion and the validated procedures for their extraction provide a strong basis for future work on microplastic pollution.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea magistrale)
Autore della tesi
Scapinello, Sara
Relatore della tesi
Correlatore della tesi
Corso di studio
Ordinamento Cds
Parole chiave
microplastics, marine invertebrates, uptake, trophic levels, digestion methods, polymers characterization, biodeposit
Data di discussione della Tesi
14 Dicembre 2017

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