Abstract

The impact of LDPE microplastics (<100 µm; P100-A P100-B, P100-C, 100 – 200 µm; P200, 200-500 µm; P500) on Acropora formosa was investigated. This study investigated the bleaching and necrosis extent of A. formosa caused by LDPE contamination via laboratory assay. The staghorn coral ingested the microplastics, resulting in bleaching and necrosis that concomitantly occurred with the release of zooxanthellae. P100-A experimentation was the worst case, showing bleaching by day 2 (10.8 ± 2.2 %) and continued bleaching to 93.6 % ± 2.0 by day 14 followed by 5.9 ± 2.5 % necrosis. The overall results confirmed that the LDPE concentration impacts coral health. We highlighted that microplastics have been ingested and partially egested. Their presence showed either a direct or indirect impact on coral polyps via direct interaction or through photosynthesis perturbation due to microplastics that cover the coral surface.

Highlights

  • The smallest LDPE microplastics suppress the health of Staghorn coral.
  •  Necrosis and/or bleaching of coral were the immediate impacts on corals due to LDPE.
  • Zooxanthellae increases in the water column confirmed that bleaching perturbs corals.
  • Microplastics have been ingested and partially egested.

plastics, polymers leachate, LDPE, coral reefs, bleaching, Acropora formosa

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