Recyclable plastics as substrata for settlement and growth of bryozoans Bugula neritina and barnacles Amphibalanus amphitrite.
Plastics are common and pervasive anthropogenic debris in marine environments. Floating plastics provide opportunities to alter the abundance, distribution and invasion potential of sessile organisms that colonize them. We selected plastics from seven recycle categories and quantified settlement of (i) bryozoans Bugula neritina (Linnaeus, 1758) in the lab and in the field, and of (ii) barnacles Amphibalanus (= Balanus) amphitrite (Darwin, 1854) in the field. In the laboratory we cultured barnacles on the plastics for 8 weeks and quantified growth, mortality, and breaking strength of the side plates. In the field all recyclable plastics were settlement substrata for bryozoans and barnacles. Settlement depended on the type of plastic. Fewer barnacles settled on plastic surfaces compared to glass. In the lab and in the field, bryozoan settlement was higher on plastics than on glass. In static laboratory rearing, barnacles growing on plastics were initially significantly smaller than on glass. This suggested juvenile barnacles were adversely impacted by materials leaching from the plastics. Barnacle mortality was not significantly different between plastic and glass surfaces, but breaking strength of side plates of barnacles on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polycarbonate (PC) were significantly lower than breakage strength on glass. Plastics impact marine ecosystems directly by providing new surfaces for colonization with fouling organisms and by contaminants shown previously to leach out of plastics and impact biological processes.
Li, H-X; Orihuela, B; Zhu, M; Rittschof, D
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