Effects of polyester plastic on attachment behavior in zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and movement in ramshorn snails (Planorbella campanulata)
Arts and Sciences
Thomas Paul - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1512-7894 ; Laurie Eberhardt - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0144-5821
Plastic pollution in aquatic environments has gained significant attention over the past decade, as microplastic (plastic fibers less than 5 mm in length) pollution has been quantified in marine and some freshwater environments. However, much of the ecological impact of microplastics is still relatively unknown. Furthermore, in lieu of COVID-19 pandemic, disposable plastic masks have been widely used and discarded, serving as potential sources of microplastic pollution. In this study, snails (Planorbella campanulata) and invasive zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) were used to study the effects of microplastic pollution in freshwater environments. Behavioral changes in snails were examined. Zebra mussels in fish tanks were exposed to polyester, a plastic found in disposable face masks, and the number of byssal threads produced by the mussels was recorded. No significant differences were found between control mussels and those exposed to plastics (n1 = 10, n2 = 9, U1 = 52.5, U2 = 37.5, p > 0.05). The reason for such variation in byssal thread production in zebra mussels remains unknown. Further understanding may require research on different organisms to understand the ecological consequences of microplastic pollution.
Philips, Cole; Paul, Thomas; Eberhardt, Laurie; Burke, Addi; and Peck, Ethan, "Effects of polyester plastic on attachment behavior in zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and movement in ramshorn snails (Planorbella campanulata)" (2021). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 937.