Microplastics (MP) are ubiquitous contaminants able to cause adverse effects on organisms. Three hypotheses were tested here: early Pomatoschistus microps juveniles can ingest MP; the presence of MP may reduce fish predatory performance and efficiency; developmental conditions may influence the prey selection capability of fish. Predatory bioassays were carried out with juveniles from two estuaries with differences in environmental conditions: Minho (M-est) and Lima (L-est) Rivers (NW Iberian coast). Polyethylene MP spheres (3 types) alone and in combination with Artemia nauplii were offered as prey. All the MP types were ingested, suggesting confusion with food. Under simultaneous exposure to MP and Artemia, L-est fish showed a significant reduction of the predatory performance (65%) and efficiency (up to 50%), while M-est fish did not, suggesting that developmental conditions may influence the prey selection capability of fish. The MP-induced reduction of food intake may decrease individual and population fitness.
Luís Carlos de Sá, Luís G. Luís, Lúcia Guilhermino, Environmental Pollution, Volume 196, Pages 359–362, January 2015