Chemoreception drives plastic consumption in a hard coral.

Published

Journal Article

The drivers behind microplastic (up to 5mm in diameter) consumption by animals are uncertain and impacts on foundational species are poorly understood. We investigated consumption of weathered, unfouled, biofouled, pre-production and microbe-free National Institute of Standards plastic by a scleractinian coral that relies on chemosensory cues for feeding. Experiment one found that corals ingested many plastic types while mostly ignoring organic-free sand, suggesting that plastic contains phagostimulents. Experiment two found that corals ingested more plastic that wasn't covered in a microbial biofilm than plastics that were biofilmed. Additionally, corals retained ~8% of ingested plastic for 24h or more and retained particles appeared stuck in corals, with consequences for energetics, pollutant toxicity and trophic transfer. The potential for chemoreception to drive plastic consumption in marine taxa has implications for conservation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Allen, AS; Seymour, AC; Rittschof, D

Published Date

  • November 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 124 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 198 - 205

PubMed ID

  • 28743368

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28743368

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-3363

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0025-326X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.07.030

Language

  • eng