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Functional response quantifies microplastic uptake by a widespread African fish species.

Authors
  • Mbedzi, Rendani1
  • Dalu, Tatenda1
  • Wasserman, Ryan J2
  • Murungweni, Florence1
  • Cuthbert, Ross N3
  • 1 Aquatic Systems Research Group, Department of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Venda, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa. , (South Africa)
  • 2 Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Palapye, Botswana. , (Botswana)
  • 3 School of Biological Sciences, 19 Chlorine Gardens, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT9 5DL, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [email protected] , (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Science of the total environment
Publication Date
Jan 15, 2020
Volume
700
Pages
134522–134522
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134522
PMID: 31627047
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Ecological impacts of microplastic remain poorly understood, despite their ubiquity across all habitat types globally. Microplastic concentrations vary significantly across spatiotemporal gradients, however we lack quantitative methodologies to predict species-level responses to differential environmental concentrations. In the present study, we expose a key species, the banded tilapia Tilapia sparrmanii Smith, 1940, to different concentrations of microplastic particles. We apply and develop the functional response approach for quantifications of microplastic uptake by the fish across different environmental densities. Tilapia consumed microplastic even when relatively rare in their environment, and consumption rates related negatively to concentrations supplied, conducive with a saturating Type II (i.e., inversely-density-dependent) functional response. Attack rate (i.e., search efficiency), handling time and maximum feeding rate estimates towards microplastic were estimated, providing key information on feeding behaviour in relation to exposure concentrations. We propose the utility of functional response approaches for predictive quantifications of microplastic uptake rates. In turn, this can better-link laboratory exposure studies to environmental concentrations which are known to cause ecological impact, and provide a means of comparing uptakes among species and across environmental contexts. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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