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SFS Annual Meeting

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MICROPLASTIC IN AQUATIC FOOD WEBS: MUSEUM SPECIMENS AND INGESTION EXPERIMENTS REVEAL CONTROLS ON MICROPLASTIC INGESTION BY FRESHWATER FISH

Plastic is pervasive in modern economies and ecosystems. Early research suggests freshwater fish commonly ingest microplastic (particles < 5 mm), triggering lethal and sub-lethal effects, but no studies have examined historical patterns in microplastic consumption or rates of microplastic retention in fish. We measured microplastic in digestive tissue of specimens collected and preserved over the last century (Field Museum, Chicago). We selected Micropterus salmoides (largemouth bass) and Notropis stramineus (sandshiner) because each was well represented in the museum collection, with specimens from urban rivers. Preliminary results from 1908, 1988, and 2003 suggests a steady increase of microplastic concentration over time. With further analysis, we expect to show a clear and sustained increase from the 1950’s to present. In a second project, we collected Neogobius melanostomus (round goby) from Lake Michigan in Chicago to conduct feeding trials to measure microplastic ingestion, retention, and egestion rates. Results from this research will aid in understanding ecological interactions of microplastic and freshwater fish, and contribute to our understanding of its physiological impacts and movement with aquatic food webs.

Loren Hou (Primary Presenter/Author), Loyola University Chicago, Lhou1@luc.edu;


Rachel McNeish (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), California State University Bakersfield, rachel.e.mcneish@gmail.com;


Timothy Hoellein (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Loyola University Chicago, thoellein@luc.edu;