Microplastics ingestion in the ephyra stage of Aurelia sp. triggers acute and behavioral responses

Gambardella, C., Piazza, V., Vassalli, M. , Sbrana, F., Lavorano, S., Garaventa, F. and Faimali, M. (2020) Microplastics ingestion in the ephyra stage of Aurelia sp. triggers acute and behavioral responses. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 189, 109983. (doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.109983)

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Abstract

For the first time, we report a correspondence between microplastics (MP) ingestion and ecotoxicological effects in gelatinous zooplankton (Cnidarian jellyfish). The ephyra stage of the jellyfish Aurelia sp. was exposed to both environmental and high concentrations of fluorescent 1–4 μm polyethylene MP (0.01–10 mg/L). After 24 and 48 h, MP accumulation, acute (Immobility) and behavioral (Frequency pulsation) endpoints were investigated. MP were detected by confocal and tomographic investigations on gelatinous body and mouth, either attached on the surface or ingested. This interaction was responsible for impairing ephyrae survival and behavior at all tested concentrations after 24 h. Acute and behavioral effects were also related to mechanical disturbance, caused by MP, triggering a loss of radial symmetry. Contaminated ephyrae exposed to clean seawater showed full recovery after 72 h highlighting the organisms without the microspheres, attached on body jellyfish surface around the mouth and lappets. In conclusion, short-term exposure to MP affects ephyrae jellyfish health, impairing both their survival and behavior. Polyethylene MP temporarily affect both Immobility and Frequency of pulsation of Aurelia sp. jellyfish. This study provides a first step towards understanding and clarifying the potential impacts of MP contamination in gelatinous zooplankton.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vassalli, Dr Massimo
Authors: Gambardella, C., Piazza, V., Vassalli, M., Sbrana, F., Lavorano, S., Garaventa, F., and Faimali, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0147-6513
ISSN (Online):1090-2414
Published Online:27 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 189:109983
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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