Interactions between the ice algae Fragillariopsis cylindrus and microplastics in sea ice


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Ilka.Peeken [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

High concentrations of microplastics have been found in sea ice but the mechanisms by which they get captured into the ice and which role ice algae might play in this process remain unknown. Similarly, we do not know how the presence of microplastics might impact the colonization of sea ice by ice algae. To estimate the ecological impact of microplastics for Polar ecosystems, it is essential to understand their behaviour during ice formation and possible interactions with organisms inhabiting sea ice. In this study we tested the interaction between the ice algae Fragillariopsis cylindrus and microplastic beads with and without sea ice present and, in a third experiment, during the process of ice formation. With sea ice present, we found significantly less algae cells in the ice when incubated together with microplastics compared to the incubation without microplastics. However, during ice formation, the presence of microplastics did not impact the colonisation of the ice by F. cylindrus cells. Further, we observed a strong correlation between salinity and the relative amount of beads in the water and ice. With increasing salinity of the water, the relative amount of beads in the water decreased significantly. At the same time, the relative amount of beads in the ice increased significantly with increasing ice salinity. Both processes were not influenced by the presence of F. cylindrus. Also, we found indications that the presence of algae can affect the amount of microplastic beads sticking to the container walls. This could indicate that EPS produced by ice algae plays a significant role in surface binding properties of microplastics. Overall, our results highlight that the interactions between algae and microplastics have an influence on the uptake of microplastics into sea ice with possible implications for the sea ice food web.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
51773
DOI 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105697.

Cite as
Hoffmann, L. J. , Eggers, S. L. , Alhusen, E. , Katlein, C. and Peeken, I. (2020): Interactions between the ice algae Fragillariopsis cylindrus and microplastics in sea ice , Environment International, 139 , p. 105697 . doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105697.


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