Impacts of microplastics on growth and health of hermatypic corals are species-specific

Reichert, Jessica, Arnold, Angelina L., Hoogenboom, Mia O., Schubert, Patrick, and Wilke, Thomas (2019) Impacts of microplastics on growth and health of hermatypic corals are species-specific. Environmental Pollution, 254 (B). 113074.

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Abstract

Coral reefs are increasingly affected by the consequences of global change such as increasing temperatures or pollution. Lately, microplastics (i.e., fragments < 5 mm) have been identified as another potential threat. While previous studies have assessed short-term effects caused by high concentrations of microplastics, nothing is known about the long-term effects of microplastics under realistic concentrations. Therefore, a microcosm study was conducted and corals of the genera Acropora, Pocillopora, Porites, and Heliopora were exposed to microplastics in a concentration of 200 particles L-1, relating to predicted pollution levels. Coral growth and health, as well as symbiont properties were studied over a period of six months. The exposure caused species-specific effects on coral growth and photosynthetic performance. Signs of compromised health were observed for Acropora and Pocillopora, those taxa that frequently interact with the particles. The results indicate elevated energy demands in the affected species, likely due to physical contact of the corals to the microplastics. The study shows that micro plastic pollution can have negative impacts on hermatypic corals. These effects might amplify corals' susceptibility to other stressors, further contributing to community shifts in coral reef assemblages.

Item ID: 60682
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-6424
Keywords: Microcosm, Microplastic, Long-term exposure, Reef-building corals, Photosynthesis, Polyethylene
Copyright Information: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Funders: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Projects and Grants: DAAD project number 57480468
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 07:33
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060604 Comparative Physiology @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 80%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management @ 10%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961104 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Marine Environments @ 10%
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