An Analysis of Florida Fighting Conch Tissue for the Presence of Microplastics

Jordan Kleinschmidt, Dr. Alexis Janosik, Department of Biology, University of West Florida, 11000 University Pkwy, Pensacola, FL 32514

Microplastics are defined as small pieces of plastic that measure five millimeters or less in size and come in many shapes and colors. These miniscule pieces of debris can be found all throughout the oceans, lakes, and can even be found inside organisms. The source of these microplastics can be from beauty products, break down of larger plastic debris, and other types of microbeads and bits of plastic from manufactured goods. There are many dangers posed by microplastic pollution, one being the consumption of these debris by marine organisms, which will later be consumed by humans. The effects of consuming microplastics on marine organisms is actively being researched however, the consumption and thus the effects of microplastics on organisms is still not fully known. The Florida Fighting Conch is a gastropod mollusc that can be found from the beaches of North Carolina all the way down to Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. These conchs are commonly found washed up onto the shores of beaches due to heavy current and wave activity. Florida Fighting Conchs serve as a food source for other organisms in the ecosystem. As such, the potential for biomagnification up the food chain is present if Florida Fighting Conchs are consuming microplastics. Knowing that these conchs are feeding off of algae in the seagrass beds, they have the potential to also consume benthic microplastics. The objective of this study is to quantify microplastic contamination in Florida Fighting Conchs. Florida Fighting conchs will be collected locally from intertidal beach habitats and tissue will be digested for microplastic quantification. After tissue digestion is complete, samples will be filtered and microplastics will be quantified and measured using microscopy. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Jordan Kleinschmidt

Institution: University of West Florida

Type: Poster

Subject: Ecology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4106