PhD student at Bournemouth University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences
Microplastics, particles 1 µm-5 mm, are a relatively recent global stressor instigated by rapid human population growth and a consequent reliance on plastics. Particles originate from cosmetic products and the gradual breakdown of larger plastics and eventually reach water courses through surface runoff, wind dispersal and waste outflows. Microplastics are known to impact a range of aquatic organisms, impairing feeding, physiological and reproductive functions, with potentially detrimental consequences for biodiversity and conservation. Whilst many plastics pass through freshwaters, and then pass on to marine systems, the dynamics and consequences of freshwater microplastic are currently poorly understood. This FSBI funded project will therefore address existing knowledge gaps by quantifying the impacts of microplastics on focal freshwater fish and invertebrate taxa. Using novel field research (year 1) and laboratory experiments (years 2-3), I will investigate the individual and community impacts of microplastics on fish, including their disruptions to host-parasite systems.