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SFS Annual Meeting

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The increase in global plastic production has led to an accumulation of plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems worldwide, and microplastic (plastic particles < 5 mm in length) has been detected in aquatic food webs. Research to identify the main sources of microplastic entering aquatic ecosystems is the first step towards addressing the problem of microplastic contamination in fish food webs. We assessed microplastic abundance in fish collected from 8 major tributaries of Lake Michigan, USA, that spanned a forest to urban-agriculture land-use gradient. Results suggest that microplastic abundance in fish is not linked to land-use, but may be related to fish functional feeding groups. For example, preliminary data from 3 sites indicate that zoobenthivores contained more microplastic than detritivores. Investigating connections between land-use, fish traits, and microplastic abundance in fish will provide novel information on environmental conditions and ecological traits that make fish susceptible to consuming microplastic. This information could inform future fish management and conservation efforts.

Melissa Achettu (Primary Presenter/Author), Loyola University of Chicago,;

Rae McNeish (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), California State University Bakersfield,;

Timothy Hoellein (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Loyola University Chicago,;

John Kelly (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Loyola University Chicago,;