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Using solitary ascidians to assess microplastic and phthalate plasticizers pollution among marine biota: A case study of the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea

Vered, Gal, Kaplan, Aviv, Avisar, Dror, Shenkar, Noa
Marine pollution bulletin 2019 v.138 pp. 618-625
Herdmania momus, Microcosmus, additives, aquatic organisms, case studies, coasts, dibutyl phthalate, environmental monitoring, marine environment, microplastics, plasticizers, pollutants, water pollution, Israel, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea
The interaction of microplastic (MP) with marine organisms is crucial for understanding the significant effect that MP and its additives may have on marine environments. However, knowledge regarding the magnitude of these pollutants in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the tropical Red Sea is still scarce. Here we examined the levels of phthalate acid esters (PAEs) and MP in Herdmania momus and Microcosmus exasperatus sampled along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts of Israel. High levels of dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and bis (2‑ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) were found in ascidians at the majority of sampling sites, and MP particles were found in ascidians at all sites. As efficient filter-feeders and being widely-distributed, invasive ascidians present fundamental opportunities for the environmental monitoring of microplastic and its additives worldwide. The high levels of pollutants revealed emphasize the need for further research into the magnitude and effects of MP and PAEs in these regions.