In situ ingestion of microfibres by meiofauna from sandy beaches

Microfibres are widespread contaminants in marine environments across the globe. Detecting in situ ingestion of microfibres by small marine organisms is necessary to understand their potential accumulation in marine food webs and their role in marine pollution. We have examined the gut contents of meiofauna from six sandy beaches in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. Out of twenty taxonomic groups, three species of the common sandy beach annelid Saccocirrus. Displayed in situ ingestion of microfibres in all sites. Laboratory observations showed that species of Saccocirrus are able to egest microfibres with no obvious physical injury. We suggest that their non-selective microphagous suspension-feeding behaviour makes Saccocirrus more prone to ingest microfibres. Although microfibres are rapidly egested with no apparent harm, there is still the potential for trophic transfer into marine food webs through predation of Saccocirrus.

Felipe Gusmão, Maikon Di Domenico, A. Cecilia Z. Amaral and al., Environmental Pollution, Volume 216, September 2016, Pages 584–590

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