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Browsing by Author "Kangas, Anna"

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  • Kangas, Anna (2022)
    Aims and methods: Global plastic production is increasing annually and microplastics (MPs, particles of <5 mm in size) have been reported in the environment worldwide. In aquatic systems plastic pollution is present especially in coastal habitats, and MPs can concentrate within littoral zone vegetation. Numerous marine animals are known to be able to ingest MPs, and plastics can also have adverse effects on the health and behaviour of the exposed animals. This Master’s thesis examined trophic transfer of MPs in a Baltic Sea littoral food chain. Laboratory experiments with 10 µm fluorescence microspheres were conducted to study trophic transfer between food chains of different lengths. The longest food chain had three trophic levels: zooplankton, chameleon shrimp (Praunus flexuosus) and rockpool prawn (Palaemon elegans). Also, the gut passage time of rockpool prawn was experimentally studied. The digestive tracts of the studied animals were analysed for MPs under an epifluorescence microscope. Results: The results show that trophic transfer may be an important pathway of microplastic exposure for animals at higher trophic levels. The number of ingested microspheres in both chameleon shrimp and rockpool prawn was higher when the animals were exposed through pre-exposed prey in comparison to direct exposure from the water. In addition, the prawns ingested more MPs in the experiment with three trophic levels than in the two-level experiment. The results support earlier findings, that the feeding mode affects the microplastic exposure of animals. There were no clear results from the gut passage time experiment.