Testing indicators for biological impacts of microplastics

One of the aims of the CleanSea project task is to provide fundamental scientific knowledge on the scale and nature of the physical and chemical impacts of marine litter, and in particular microplastics, on exemplar marine organisms and the predicted consequences for populations and communities. We aim to determine the impact of this type of marine litter on population-relevant fitness parameters and energy budgets in key species, with a focus on the base of the marine food web. In CleanSea, the main species under study include algae, bacteria, invertebrates such as zooplankton, sponges, echinoderms, bivalves and crustaceans, as well as fish and birds. Here we present a summary update on progress on determining the ecological harm of microplastics and discuss important aspects of indicator species selection that Member States will be confronted with when implementing the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Controlled exposure area designed for microplastic research at ILVO - Belgium

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