Increasing global concern with respect to the levels of bioavailable microplastic (<5 mm) contamination in marine environments has led to many studies examining the physiological impacts of microplastic consumption on a range of species. The copepod, Temora longicornis (Müller, 1785), is a common inhabitant of the upper epipelagic zone of gulf and estuarine waters of the North Atlantic which we hypothesised would be regularly exposed to microplastic contaminated marine environments. They are therefore at risk of consumption of microplastic pollutants, which could have wider trophic impacts. Microplastic was recorded in all water samples with an average concentration of 8.2 particles/m3. However, there was no significant difference in abundance or size of microplastics sampled from three localities within Chichester Harbour, UK. Individual digestion of ninety copepods found no evidence of consumption of any microplastic contaminants above our observable size range of 23 μm. Whilst microplastic pollution remains of wider ecological concern, our results suggest limited support for the potential for this copepod species to transfer these pollutants to higher trophic levels.
- trophic transfer