Title

Microplastics as Pollutants In Aquatic Ecosystems Across South Carolina

Author(s)

Sarah WebbFollow

School Name

South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics

Grade Level

12th Grade

Presentation Topic

Environmental Science

Presentation Type

Mentored

Abstract

Microplastics, or MPs, are classified as plastic particles smaller than 5 mm that can become a prevalent pollutant in both freshwater and saltwater environments. These pollutants pose a harm to the ecosystem and the organisms living within. As MPs break down in their environments, they can leach chemicals. MPs are known to be highly absorbent and may take in toxins present in the environment. This makes the process of bioaccumulation more deadly to organisms that come into contact with them. Some toxins that are susceptible to being absorbed by MPs come from Harmful Algal Blooms, or HABs. These HABs result due to increased growth of toxic microalgae that outcompete other algal species and have harmful effects on the flora and fauna of the areas they inhabit. The toxicity of MPs and HABs were tested separately and together using P. pugio (a grass shrimp species) as test subjects. This was done to gain a sense of whether the pollutants had a synergistic, antagonistic, or additive relationship. Data sets of MPs from Lake Wateree and various sites across Charleston from a previous study conducted by The Citadel were also compared.

Location

Furman Hall 229

Start Date

3-28-2020 12:00 PM

Presentation Format

Oral Only

Group Project

No

COinS
 
Mar 28th, 12:00 PM

Microplastics as Pollutants In Aquatic Ecosystems Across South Carolina

Furman Hall 229

Microplastics, or MPs, are classified as plastic particles smaller than 5 mm that can become a prevalent pollutant in both freshwater and saltwater environments. These pollutants pose a harm to the ecosystem and the organisms living within. As MPs break down in their environments, they can leach chemicals. MPs are known to be highly absorbent and may take in toxins present in the environment. This makes the process of bioaccumulation more deadly to organisms that come into contact with them. Some toxins that are susceptible to being absorbed by MPs come from Harmful Algal Blooms, or HABs. These HABs result due to increased growth of toxic microalgae that outcompete other algal species and have harmful effects on the flora and fauna of the areas they inhabit. The toxicity of MPs and HABs were tested separately and together using P. pugio (a grass shrimp species) as test subjects. This was done to gain a sense of whether the pollutants had a synergistic, antagonistic, or additive relationship. Data sets of MPs from Lake Wateree and various sites across Charleston from a previous study conducted by The Citadel were also compared.