Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

In Press

A. Ugolini, G. Ungherese, M. Ciofini, A. Lapucci, M. Camaiti, Microplastic debris in sandhoppers, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Available online 15 June 2013, ISSN 0272-7714,
Abstract: Adults of the sandhopper Talitrus saltator were fed with dry fish food mixed with polyethylene microspheres (diameter 10 – 45 μm). Observations of homogenized guts revealed the presence of microspheres independently of their dimensions. The gut resident time (GRT) was recorded and most of the microspheres are expelled in 24h. Microspheres are totally expelled in one week. Preliminary investigations did not show any consequence of microsphere ingestion on the survival capacity in the laboratory. FT-IR analyses carried out on faeces of freshly collected individuals revealed the presence of polyethylene and polypropylene. This confirms that microplastic debris could be swallowed by T. saltator in natural conditions.
Keywords: microplastic; supralittoral zone; sandy beaches; sandhoppers; Talitrus saltator

A. Vianello, A. Boldrin, P. Guerriero, V. Moschino, R. Rella, A. Sturaro, L. Da Ros, Microplastic particles in sediments of Lagoon of Venice, Italy: First observations on occurrence, spatial patterns and identification, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Available online 6 April 2013, ISSN 0272-7714, 10.1016/j.ecss.2013.03.022.
Abstract: In order to improve knowledge of the identification, distribution and abundances of microplastic particles of 1 mm or less (S-MPPs) in the coastal area of the Mediterranean region, a preliminary monitoring survey was carried out in a transitional environment along the north-eastern Italian coasts, the Lagoon of Venice. S-MPPs were evaluated in sediments collected from 10 sites chosen in shallow areas variously affected by natural conditions and anthropogenic influences (i.e., landward stations influenced by freshwater inputs, seaward areas near sea inlets, and sites influenced by the presence of aquaculture farms, industry and city centers). S-MPPs, extracted from bulk sediments by density separation, were counted and identified by Fourier-Transform Infrared Micro-spectroscopy (μFT-IR). The μFT-IR process included automatic surface chemical mapping and references to an infrared library database to identify the compositional spectra of particles. S-MPPs were recovered from all samples – a fact which emphasizes their extensive distribution throughout the Lagoon. Total abundances varied from 2175 to 672 S-MPPs kg−1 d.w., higher concentrations generally being observed in landward sites. Of the ten polymer types identified, the most abundant, accounting for more than 82% of total S-MPPs, were polyethylene and polypropylene. The most frequent size (93% of observed microplastics) was in the range 30–500 μm. Total S-MPP values were significantly correlated with the finer sediment fraction and with the metal pollution index.
Keywords: microplastic; coastal pollution; transitional waters; μFT-IR analysis; Lagoon of Venice