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SFS Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 6, 2024
13:30 - 15:00

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S16 Trash Talk: Ecology of Anthropogenic Materials in Freshwaters
&
S26 Transport and Bioaccumulation of Microplastics in Freshwater Ecosystems

13:30 - 13:45 | Independence Ballroom C | THE LONGITUDINAL PATTERN OF MICROPLASTICS IN THE RIVER TER DOES NOT FOLLOW THE TROPHIC PATTERN

6/06/2024  |   13:30 - 13:45   |  Independence Ballroom C

The longitudinal pattern of microplastics in the River Ter does not follow the trophic pattern Anthropogenic litter ranging in size from 100 to 5000 µm (Micro-AL) was analyzed in the water column of the River Ter (NE Spain) to explore its relationship with nutrient concentrations. The concentration of Micro-AL ranged from 0.2 to 4.14 particles/L. A total of 82 different particle types were identified, with richness values ranging from 6 to 19. The most abundant type of Micro-AL were transparent PET filaments, followed by blue cellulose filaments and transparent PE and PBT filaments. The nutrient concentration gradient along the river, which increased downstream, with a slight recovery in the middle waters, differed markedly from the Micro-AL pattern. A negative correlation was found between Micro-AL and particulate phosphorus concentrations, indicating that the processes governing the dynamics of the two particle types are very different.

Helena Guasch (Primary Presenter/Author), Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC), Spain, helena.guasch@ceab.csic.es;

Berta Bonet (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Centre d'Estudis Avançats de Blanes, berta.bonet@ceab.cic.es;

13:45 - 14:00 | Independence Ballroom C | MICROPLASTICS IN FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS INFLUENCED BY AGRICULTURAL AND URBAN ACTIVITIES

6/06/2024  |   13:45 - 14:00   |  Independence Ballroom C

Microplastics in Freshwater Ecosystems Influenced by Agricultural and Urban Activities Microplastics (MPs) are a pollutant of concern that are ever-present in virtually every ecosystem type. Of all the ecosystems burdened by MPs, freshwater ecosystems have significance because they contribute a disproportionate amount of plastics to marine MP pollutant load. While there are rising concerns about MPs in freshwater ecosystems, most MP studies focus only on marine systems and do not quantify the influence of watershed land use such as agricultural and urban activities. I am comparing MPs from 12 agricultural and urban dominant watersheds in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties over the dry and wet seasons. I collected MPs, calculated pollutant loads, and quantified polymer types to compare MPs from agricultural and urban watersheds. My results will help the scientific community, policymakers, MD4 permittees, and NOAA CCME-II better understand the relative differences in MPs from agricultural and urban systems. Once I have obtained these results, decision-makers can create an adaptive management plan and reinforce policy recommendations made in the Statewide Microplastics Strategy to manage MPs more effectively in freshwater ecosystems.

Alyssa Anzalone (Primary Presenter/Author), California State University, Monterey Bay, aanzalone@csumb.edu;

Win Cowger (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Moore Institute for Plastic Pollution Research, wincowger@gmail.com;

James Guilinger (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), California State University, Monterey Bay, jguilinger@csumb.edu;

John Olson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Dept of Applied Environmental Science, California State University Monterey Bay, CA, USA, joolson@csumb.edu;

14:00 - 14:15 | Independence Ballroom C | PLASTISPHERE FRESHWATER MIGRATION: THE SPATIOTEMPORAL REMOBILIZATION OF MICROPLASTICS ACROSS TWO IRES WATERSHEDS.

6/06/2024  |   14:00 - 14:15   |  Independence Ballroom C

Plastisphere Freshwater Migration: The spatiotemporal remobilization of microplastics across two IRES Watersheds. Rivers are recognized as major unilateral pathways of MP transport between terrestrial and marine ecosystems, yet our understanding of their dispersal over space and through time as they migrate from source to sink is limited. Furthermore, freshwater microplastic studies have largely focused on perennial rivers with little attention to intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams. In this study, surface water and sediment samples were collected monthly from 24 sites along two urban ephemeral rivers (Leon Creek and Salado Creek) in San Antonio, Texas between June 2021 and May 2022 to characterize and evaluate the spatiotemporal distribution of microplastics. Microplastics were found in all sites throughout monitoring timeframe (n = 10451). Fibers were the most abundant (~87%) morphology followed by foams (7%). The abundance of microplastics varied from 2 to 320 items/cm3 and 0 to 493 items/kg-1. Potential MPs were marked and analyzed using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) for confirmation and polymer identification. This study is the first to monitor and report microplastics in ephemeral streams. The global extent of IRES systems is projected to increase with continued climate change; therefore, understanding how hydrodynamic patterns influence microplastic spatial distribution and fluvial transport regimes constitutes valuable information in assessing microplastics pathways and their fate as a part of the global “Plastisphere” geochemical cycle in the Anthropocene

Andre Felton (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Texas at San Antonio, andre.felton@my.utsa.edu;

Sue Ellen Gibbs-Huerta (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Texas at San Antonio, sueellen.fernandez@my.utsa.edu;

Beauxregard Martinez (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Texas at San Antonio, beaux.martinez@my.utsa.edu;

Briaunna Zamarripa (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Texas at San Antonio, Briaunna.Zamarripa@my.utsa.edu;

Cristina Mendez (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Texas at San Antonio, Cristina.Mendez@my.utsa.edu;

Salem Farner (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Texas at San Antonio, Salem.Farner@my.utsa.edu;

Jeffrey Hutchinson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Texas at San Antonio, Jeffrey.Hutchinson@utsa.edu;

14:15 - 14:30 | Independence Ballroom C | MICROPLASTICS AND PFAS IN TRIBUTARIES OF THE DELAWARE RIVER ESTUARY

6/06/2024  |   14:15 - 14:30   |  Independence Ballroom C

MICROPLASTICS AND PFAS IN TRIBUTARIES OF THE DELAWARE RIVER ESTUARY Pollution of freshwater ecosystems by plastics and PFAS is becoming an increasing concern. Recent studies suggest that microplastics, which result from the degradation of plastics in the environment and are less than 5 mm in size, can increase the toxicity of PFAS. This, in turn, increases the risk of these pollutants entering the food web. To minimize risks and ensure safe and accessible water, it is important to understand how these pollutants are transported and where they accumulate. Our study aimed to investigate the presence of microplastics and PFAS in stream water and sediments in small streams that flow into the Delaware River, specifically in the area between Camden, New Jersey, and Chester, Pennsylvania. We found microplastics in all samples, with concentrations ranging from 5 to 410 particles per cubic meter in water and 13 to 160 particles per kilogram of dry sediment. The highest concentrations of microplastics were found where streams met the main stem of the Delaware River. PFAS concentration in surface water varied depending on the tributary and its location, with maximum concentrations ranging from 53.01 to 107.46 nanograms per liter. 12 out of 40 tested PFAS compounds in surface water were detected above quantification levels. Low concentrations of PFAS were found in stream sediments ranging from 0.27 to 3.58 micrograms per kilogram. These concentrations are higher than previously reported for Delaware River tributaries, indicating a need for further study of smaller streams as potential sources of PFAS to the Delaware River and its coastal environment.

Lisa Emili (Primary Presenter/Author), Pennsylvania State University, lae18@psu.edu;

Nathaniel Warner (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Pennsylvania State University, nrw6@psu.edu;

Heather Gall (Preisendanz) (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Pennsylvania State University, heg12@psu.edu;

Robert Mathers (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Penn State, rtm11@psu.edu;

Patrick Drohan (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Pennsylvania State University, pjd7@psu.edu;

Raymond Najjar (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Penn State, rgn1@psu.edu;

Jill Arriola (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Penn State, jva5648@psu.edu;

14:30 - 14:45 | Independence Ballroom C | MONITORING AND REDUCING MICROPLASTICS IN THE DELAWARE RIVER ESTUARY

6/06/2024  |   14:30 - 14:45   |  Independence Ballroom C

Monitoring And Reducing Microplastics in the Delaware River Estuary Plastic is perhaps the most prevalent type of debris found in our oceans, rivers, and large lakes. Plastic debris comes in all shapes and sizes, but those that are less than five millimeters in length are called microplastics. These tiny particles easily pass-through water filtration systems and end up in receiving waters. Over time, larger plastics degrade into microplastics, but microplastics also include man-made products like microbeads. Little is known about microplastics and their impacts on human health and aquatic life and few microplastics studies have been conducted in the Delaware River Basin. DRBC monitored for microplastics and modeled loadings of microplastics in the upper Delaware River Estuary—from Trenton, N.J. to Wilmington, DE. Samples were collected from four sites in the mainstem Delaware River Estuary and ten tributary sites. Samples were analyzed for microplastic concentration, color, size, shape, and composition. Microplastics were found in all samples collected. Data collected during microplastic monitoring efforts was to model microplastic dynamics in the estuary and to target high plastic-loading tributaries for cleanup efforts. Understanding the inputs of microplastics is a vital first step towards understanding the prevalence and potential problems posed by this contaminant.

Jake Bransky (Primary Presenter/Author), Delaware River Basin Commission, jacob.bransky@drbc.gov;

14:45 - 15:00 | Independence Ballroom C | TERRESTRIAL-AQUATIC CONNECTIONS: PLASTIC DISTRIBUTION, DEGRADATION, AND IMPACTS ON MACROINVERTEBRATE COMMUNITIES

6/06/2024  |   14:45 - 15:00   |  Independence Ballroom C

TERRESTRIAL-AQUATIC CONNECTIONS: PLASTIC DISTRIBUTION, DEGRADATION, AND IMPACTS ON MACROINVERTEBRATE COMMUNITIES The increasing abundance of plastic pollution in the environment has altered resource subsidies available to freshwater and terrestrial habitats. To understand the fate of plastic pollution in arid landscapes, we investigated the degradation of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) compared to naturally occurring leaves from Plantanus acerifolia ([Aiton] Wild.; London planetree) in terrestrial and freshwater habitats. Specifically, we explored 1) if leaf and plastic degradation rates differ, and if pattern are consistent across habitats, and 2) how leaf and plastic materials impact terrestrial and aquatic macroinvertebrate communities that colonize leaf packs. To accomplish this, a traditional leaf pack experiment was conducted with three experimental treatments: natural leaves, plastics, and a mix of both materials. Leaf packs were anchored in an ephemeral pond and an arid grassland (n = 55 treatment habitat-1) and subsets were harvested every 1-3 months over the course of a year (n = 3-6 leaf packs treatment-1 habitat-1). Results indicated that plastic leaf packs degraded 115 × faster in the grassland compared to the pond habitat, and natural leaves degraded 1.7 × faster in the pond compared to the grassland. Macroinvertebrates density was similar across leaf packs; however, mixed leaf packs supported greater taxonomic and functional feeding group diversity compared to plastic and natural leaf pack (all P < 0.001). This study provides insight into how varying environmental conditions can impact the degradation rates of plastics in the environment, advancing knowledge on the fates of plastics in terrestrial and freshwater habitats.

Rae McNeish (Primary Presenter/Author), California State University Bakersfield, rae.mcneish@gmail.com;

Amy Fetters (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), California State University Bakersfield, afetters@csub.edu;