Effects of microplastic exposure on the body condition and behaviour of planktivorous reef fish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus)

Critchell, Kay and Hoogenboom, Mia O 2018, Effects of microplastic exposure on the body condition and behaviour of planktivorous reef fish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus), PLoS one, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 1-19, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193308.

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Title Effects of microplastic exposure on the body condition and behaviour of planktivorous reef fish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus)
Author(s) Critchell, KayORCID iD for Critchell, Kay orcid.org/0000-0003-0599-2355
Hoogenboom, Mia O
Journal name PLoS one
Volume number 13
Issue number 3
Start page 1
End page 19
Total pages 19
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2018-03-01
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) Ingestion
Animal behavior
Marine fish
Food consumption
Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Summary The effect of a pollutant on the base of the food web can have knock-on effects for trophic structure and ecosystem functioning. In this study we assess the effect of microplastic exposure on juveniles of a planktivorous fish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus), a species that is widespread and abundant on Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Under five different plastic concentration treatments, with plastics the same size as the natural food particles (mean 2mm diameter), there was no significant effect of plastic exposure on fish growth, body condition or behaviour. The amount of plastics found in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract was low, with a range of one to eight particles remaining in the gut of individual fish at the end of a 6-week plastic-exposure period, suggesting that these fish are able to detect and avoid ingesting microplastics in this size range. However, in a second experiment the number of plastics in the GI tract vastly increased when plastic particle size was reduced to approximately one quarter the size of the food particles, with a maximum of 2102 small (< 300μm diameter) particles present in the gut of individual fish after a 1-week plastic exposure period. Under conditions where food was replaced by plastic, there was a negative effect on the growth and body condition of the fish. These results suggest plastics could become more of a problem as they break up into smaller size classes, and that environmental changes that lead to a decrease in plankton concentrations combined with microplastic presence is likely have a greater influence on fish populations than microplastic presence alone.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0193308
Indigenous content off
Field of Research MD Multidisciplinary
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, Critchell, Hoogenboom
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30128398

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