Understanding Impacts of Microplastics on Eastern Oysters
Microplastics can cause direct damage to marine biota, absorb hazardous chemical contaminants, and bio-accumulate in benthic invertebrates and fish destined for human consumption. Preliminary research at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab has demonstrated that microplastics are prevalent in the nGoM but the potential impacts on key marine resources, due to transported hazardous chemicals, remain unknown. Determining the potential impacts of microplastics on marine resources is a salient topic that deserves attention. To address this, the following objective is proposed; characterize microplastic diversity, size distribution, and abundances, and associated absorbed pollutants (e.g. PAH, PCB, PPCP) in oyster reefs along coastal Alabama. As an important gulf fishery and filter feeder oysters may be key to determining toxicity of microplastics and their bioaccumulation. Microplastics will be collected from four nearshore locations with oyster reefs within the Mobile Bay estuary. Microplastics will be examined for types and levels of toxins. This research will assess microplastic pollution in the nGoM, which will help us develop strategies to manage this problem and preserve ecosystem health, and the well-being of human communities in the nGoM.
Location: Dauphin Island, Alabama
Latitude/Longitude: 30°14’57.49″N 88° 4’38.69″W