Effect of Microplastics on the Mortality Rate of Pimephalas promelas

Leah Turner Thomas More College
Faculty Sponsor(s): William Wetzel Thomas More College
Recent studies have demonstrated that microplastics (pieces of plastic smaller than five millimeters in size) are spread throughout the environment. While some microplastics are originally manufactured as small particles, others arise from larger pieces of plastics that have degraded over time. In addition to being reported in bodies of water, microplastics have also been found in the stomach and intestines of fish and phytoplankton. Although microplastics have been recovered from a variety of locations, the environmental impact of their presence is still largely unknown. In this study, the effect of microplastics on the freshwater organism Pimephales promelas (fathead minnow) has been investigated. In this work, an acute toxicity study was conducted in which the organism was exposed to varying levels of laboratory-prepared microplastics (< 5mm pieces of polystyrene, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride) over a 48 hour period. Mortality rates were determined and a statistical analysis was performed to ascertain the impact of microplastic concentration on the organism.
Sustainability, Urban Ecology & Environmental Studies
Poster Presentation