Seagrass beds reveal high abundance of microplastic in sediments: A case study in the Baltic Sea

Randel Kreitsberg, Merilin Raudna-Kristoffersen, Margit Heinlaan, Raymond Ward, Meeri Visnapuu, Vambola Kisand, Richard Meitern, Jonne Kotta, Arvo Tuvikene

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Microplastic (MPL) contamination in the marine environment is extensively studied yet little is known about the extent of MPL abundance in seagrass beds. The aim of this study was to evaluate MPL accumulation in coastal seagrass (Zostera marina) beds in the Baltic Sea, Estonia. Surface water was sampled by pumping using 40 μm plankton net, and sediments by trowel. MPL was extracted with NaCl, identified by microscopy and ATR-FTIR on selected samples. Surface water in the seagrass beds had 0.04–1.2 (median 0.14) MPL/L, similar to other areas of the Baltic Sea. Sediments had 0–1817 (median 208) MPL/kg (dwt), much higher than previously recorded from adjacent unvegetated and offshore sediments, thereby suggesting a strong ability of the sediments in seagrass beds to retain MPL. Of identified MPL, blue fibres were dominant in both the sampled media. Sediment
    characterization showed a correlation between MPL counts with poorly sorted sediments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number112417
    JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


    • Blue fibre
    • Marine pollution
    • Microlitter
    • Sediment
    • Water
    • Zostera marina


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