12 Jan 2021
CLAIM-funded research investigates the microplastics accumulation into wild and cultured mussels
CLAIM-funded research article investigating the microplastics (MPs) accumulation in wild and cultured mussels is available in the open-access Ocean Science journal. An international team of scientists, amongst whom is CLAIM’s scientific coordinator, has addressed the issue of microplastics as a growing concern to the marine species. As such, the study follows up the development of a dynamic energy budget (DEB) model for establishing the uptake and excretion rate of MPs on cultured and wild mussels.
Environmental data used for the forcing of the dynamic energy budget model (DEB) in the North Sea simulation, showing (a) temperature and (b) chlorophyll a concentration against in situ data from the ICES database.
According to this study, MPs are entering the marine environment from land, such as landfills, littering of beaches and coastal areas, floodwaters, etc., and are being ingested either directly or through lower trophic prey by animals from zooplankton, small pelagic fish and mussels. Nonetheless, it is being claimed that there are gaps in the data on the environmental threats of marine litter, including MPs. Therein, the CLAIM-funded research aims at filling some of the knowledge gaps by studying the accumulation of microplastics in mussels in order to reveal the relation between the accumulated concentrations in mussels’ soft parts and environmental features. The DEB theory, which enables the modelling of the feeding processes and aspects of the mussel metabolism, has been used to compare species from two regions – Mytilus edulis in the North Sea and Mytilus galloprovincialis in the northern Ionian Sea.
The findings of the study suggest that there are a number of limitations preventing coherent and desirable outcomes. However, what the researchers revealed, is that there are certain relations between the characteristics of the mussel’s surrounding environment and the MPs accumulation, which is presented with high seasonal fluctuations. Additionally, if implemented with other research theories, the DEB-accumulation model will help design next efforts, since it provides indications of the future plastic related priority issues.
Read the full paper here.