Beadlet anemone: A novel bio-indicator of microplastic pollution in the marine environment

Aksun Tümerkan, Elif Tuğçe, Köse, Esengül, Aksu, Sadi, Mol, Oğuzcan, Kantamaneni, Komali orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3852-4374, Başkurt, Sercan, Çınar, Emre and Emiroğlu, Özgür (2024) Beadlet anemone: A novel bio-indicator of microplastic pollution in the marine environment. Journal of Environmental Management, 349 . p. 119538. ISSN 0301-4797

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Extensive usage of plastic in different industries and household usage has degraded to microplastic due to environmental conditions over the last year. While several researchers conducted the determination of microplastic (MP) bioaccumulation from rivers to stormwater, except for some filter-feeding species used as a bioindicator, to achieve a holistic approach to the fate of MPs in the marine system, sea anemone was used as an indicator. Microplastics were extracted from surface seawater, sediment, and sea anemones from the same sampling area and characterized. The extracted MPs were confirmed by confocal micro-Raman spectroscopy, and the morphology of the MPs was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results showed that the accumulation of microplastics and the type of polymer, shape, colour, and size of these persistent pollutants varied in sediment, surface water, and sea anemone. The abundance of MPs was different, and grey-coloured MPs were detected at a relatively higher level in sea anemones, from 8.7 to 13.3%, and more minor MPs (less than 0.5 mm) at 43.4–56.8% were detected in sea anemones among the sampling stations. In terms of polymer type, there are relatively more types of polymers classified in sea anemones among the sampling stations (six different types of polymers). These results indicated that the utilization of sea anemones as a bioindicator for MPs could be a critical factor in a better understanding of their pathway in the marine ecosystem. This study proved that analysing sea anemones as an indicator could offer a reliable, fast, and time-saving approach for detecting microplastic accumulation in marine systems.

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