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Food-web transfer of microplastics between wild caught fish and crustaceans in East China Sea

Zhang, Feng, Wang, Xiaohui, Xu, Jiayi, Zhu, Lixin, Peng, Guyu, Xu, Pei, Li, Daoji
Marine pollution bulletin 2019
Crustacea, aquatic food webs, fishery resources, gastrointestinal system, human health, indicator species, marine ecosystems, microplastics, polyesters, tissues, trophic levels, water pollution, wild fish, East China Sea
Plastic pollution, including microplastics (MPs), poses a global threat to environmental and human health. Studies on the transference of MPs along marine food webs are limited. In the present study, we investigated MP pollution in 11 wild fish species (193 individuals) and 8 wild crustacean species (136 individuals) captured from the Zhoushan fishing ground, off the East China Sea. The average abundance of MPs found in two main tissues, the gill and gastrointestinal (GI) tract, were 0.77 ± 1.25 and 0.52 ± 0.90 items/individual, respectively. The MPs we found were predominantly fiber-shaped, blue, and composed of polyester polymers. Our results suggest that MP pollution is ubiquitous in the East China Sea. We suggest that MPs are likely aggregated in the higher trophic level fish species throughout the marine food web. Furthermore, we suggest that marine organisms which occupy higher trophic levels might be suitable MP indicator species.