Effects of microplastic exposure on the body condition and behaviour of planktivorous reef fish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus)

Critchell, Kay, and Hoogenboom, Mia O. (2018) Effects of microplastic exposure on the body condition and behaviour of planktivorous reef fish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus). PLoS ONE, 13 (3). e0193308.

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The effect of a pollutant on the base of the food web can have knock-on effects for trophic structure and ecosystem functioning. In this study we assess the effect of microplastic exposure on juveniles of a planktivorous fish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus), a species that is widespread and abundant on Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Under five different plastic concentration treatments, with plastics the same size as the natural food particles (mean 2mm diameter), there was no significant effect of plastic exposure on fish growth, body condition or behaviour. The amount of plastics found in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract was low, with a range of one to eight particles remaining in the gut of individual fish at the end of a 6-week plastic-exposure period, suggesting that these fish are able to detect and avoid ingesting microplastics in this size range. However, in a second experiment the number of plastics in the GI tract vastly increased when plastic particle size was reduced to approximately one quarter the size of the food particles, with a maximum of 2102 small (< 300μm diameter) particles present in the gut of individual fish after a 1-week plastic exposure period. Under conditions where food was replaced by plastic, there was a negative effect on the growth and body condition of the fish. These results suggest plastics could become more of a problem as they break up into smaller size classes, and that environmental changes that lead to a decrease in plankton concentrations combined with microplastic presence is likely have a greater influence on fish populations than microplastic presence alone.

Item ID: 53537
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Copyright Information: © 2018 Critchell, Hoogenboom. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Research Data: https://doi.org/10.4225/28/5a27312c231cc
Date Deposited: 09 May 2018 07:54
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310914 Vertebrate biology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 50%
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