Assessment of microplastic accumulation in wild Paracentrotus lividus, a commercially important sea urchin species, in the Eastern Aegean Sea, Greece
Antonia Hennicke, Laura Macrina, Alice Malcolm-Mckay, Anastasia Miliou
In recent years, concern about the presence of microplastic in food has grown due to their ubiquity in the environment and potential adverse effects on human health. This study investigated microplastic ingestion by wild Paracentrotus lividus, a sea urchin species of commercial value, and microplastic pollution within its natural habitat in the Aegean Sea, Greece. Microplastic particles were present in every sea urchin (1.95 ± 1.70 g ww) and sediment sample (70 to 430 microplastics kg dw). Moreover, microplastic concentrations in P. lividus were positively correlated to microplastic concentrations within sediment samples from the habitat. When ingesting plastic particles, P. lividus does not appear to discriminate between particle sizes, but between particle colours. The present results suggest that the consumption of P. lividus involves the uptake of microplastics. However, the overall content of microplastics in P. lividus appears to depend on the extent of microplastic pollution in its environment and on the characteristics of the particles present.