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Anthropogenic litter in urban freshwater ecosystems: distribution and microbial interactions.

Hoellein T, Rojas M, Pink A, Gasior J, Kelly J - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Accumulation of anthropogenic litter (i.e. garbage; AL) and its ecosystem effects in marine environments are well documented.For example, biofilms on organic substrates (cardboard and leaves) had lower GPP than hard substrates (glass, plastic, aluminum and tiles).In addition, bacterial communities on organic substrates were distinct in composition from those on hard substrates, with higher relative abundances of bacteria associated with cellulose decomposition.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Accumulation of anthropogenic litter (i.e. garbage; AL) and its ecosystem effects in marine environments are well documented. Rivers receive AL from terrestrial habitats and represent a major source of AL to marine environments, but AL is rarely studied within freshwater ecosystems. Our objectives were to 1) quantify AL density in urban freshwaters, 2) compare AL abundance among freshwater, terrestrial, and marine ecosystems, and 3) characterize the activity and composition of AL biofilms in freshwater habitats. We quantified AL from the Chicago River and Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline, and found that AL abundance in Chicago freshwater ecosystems was comparable to previously reported data for marine and terrestrial ecosystems, although AL density and composition differed among habitats. To assess microbial interactions with AL, we incubated AL and natural substrates in 3 freshwater ecosystems, quantified biofilm metabolism as gross primary production (GPP) and community respiration (CR), and characterized biofilm bacterial community composition via high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. The main driver of biofilm community composition was incubation location (e.g., river vs pond), but there were some significant differences in biofilm composition and metabolism among substrates. For example, biofilms on organic substrates (cardboard and leaves) had lower GPP than hard substrates (glass, plastic, aluminum and tiles). In addition, bacterial communities on organic substrates were distinct in composition from those on hard substrates, with higher relative abundances of bacteria associated with cellulose decomposition. Finally, we used our results to develop a conceptual diagram designed to unite the study of AL in terrestrial and freshwater environments with the well-established field of marine debris research. We suggest this broad perspective will be useful for future studies which synthesize AL sources, ecosystem effects, and fate across multiple ecosystem types, and will benefit management and reduction of global AL accumulations.

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Mean (±SE) amounts of total anthropogenic litter (AL) in the benthic and riparian zones of the North Branch of the Chicago River and a Lake Michigan beach in Chicago, IL, USA by (A) abundance (number m−2), (B) mass (g m−2), (C) surface area (cm2 m−2), and by individual categories including abundance of (D) plastic, (E) paper, and (F) glass.
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pone-0098485-g001: Mean (±SE) amounts of total anthropogenic litter (AL) in the benthic and riparian zones of the North Branch of the Chicago River and a Lake Michigan beach in Chicago, IL, USA by (A) abundance (number m−2), (B) mass (g m−2), (C) surface area (cm2 m−2), and by individual categories including abundance of (D) plastic, (E) paper, and (F) glass.

Mentions: Lake Michigan beaches had significantly less AL relative to the Chicago River riparian and benthic zones when AL abundance was expressed as number of items, mass, and surface area (ANOVA p≤0.012; Figure 1A, B, and C). There was no difference in AL abundance between the riparian and benthic zones of the Chicago River. Across all three ecosystem types, the dominant types of AL were plastic, paper, and glass (Figure 1D, E, F). Plastic was more abundant in the riparian zone than the beach (ANOVA p = 0.048), but there was no difference in the abundance of paper among locations (ANOVA p = 0.684; Figure 1D, E). Glass was more abundant in the river benthos than the riparian or beach areas (ANOVA p = 0.001; Figure 1F).


Anthropogenic litter in urban freshwater ecosystems: distribution and microbial interactions.

Hoellein T, Rojas M, Pink A, Gasior J, Kelly J - PLoS ONE (2014)

Mean (±SE) amounts of total anthropogenic litter (AL) in the benthic and riparian zones of the North Branch of the Chicago River and a Lake Michigan beach in Chicago, IL, USA by (A) abundance (number m−2), (B) mass (g m−2), (C) surface area (cm2 m−2), and by individual categories including abundance of (D) plastic, (E) paper, and (F) glass.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4067278&req=5

pone-0098485-g001: Mean (±SE) amounts of total anthropogenic litter (AL) in the benthic and riparian zones of the North Branch of the Chicago River and a Lake Michigan beach in Chicago, IL, USA by (A) abundance (number m−2), (B) mass (g m−2), (C) surface area (cm2 m−2), and by individual categories including abundance of (D) plastic, (E) paper, and (F) glass.
Mentions: Lake Michigan beaches had significantly less AL relative to the Chicago River riparian and benthic zones when AL abundance was expressed as number of items, mass, and surface area (ANOVA p≤0.012; Figure 1A, B, and C). There was no difference in AL abundance between the riparian and benthic zones of the Chicago River. Across all three ecosystem types, the dominant types of AL were plastic, paper, and glass (Figure 1D, E, F). Plastic was more abundant in the riparian zone than the beach (ANOVA p = 0.048), but there was no difference in the abundance of paper among locations (ANOVA p = 0.684; Figure 1D, E). Glass was more abundant in the river benthos than the riparian or beach areas (ANOVA p = 0.001; Figure 1F).

Bottom Line: Accumulation of anthropogenic litter (i.e. garbage; AL) and its ecosystem effects in marine environments are well documented.For example, biofilms on organic substrates (cardboard and leaves) had lower GPP than hard substrates (glass, plastic, aluminum and tiles).In addition, bacterial communities on organic substrates were distinct in composition from those on hard substrates, with higher relative abundances of bacteria associated with cellulose decomposition.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Accumulation of anthropogenic litter (i.e. garbage; AL) and its ecosystem effects in marine environments are well documented. Rivers receive AL from terrestrial habitats and represent a major source of AL to marine environments, but AL is rarely studied within freshwater ecosystems. Our objectives were to 1) quantify AL density in urban freshwaters, 2) compare AL abundance among freshwater, terrestrial, and marine ecosystems, and 3) characterize the activity and composition of AL biofilms in freshwater habitats. We quantified AL from the Chicago River and Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline, and found that AL abundance in Chicago freshwater ecosystems was comparable to previously reported data for marine and terrestrial ecosystems, although AL density and composition differed among habitats. To assess microbial interactions with AL, we incubated AL and natural substrates in 3 freshwater ecosystems, quantified biofilm metabolism as gross primary production (GPP) and community respiration (CR), and characterized biofilm bacterial community composition via high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. The main driver of biofilm community composition was incubation location (e.g., river vs pond), but there were some significant differences in biofilm composition and metabolism among substrates. For example, biofilms on organic substrates (cardboard and leaves) had lower GPP than hard substrates (glass, plastic, aluminum and tiles). In addition, bacterial communities on organic substrates were distinct in composition from those on hard substrates, with higher relative abundances of bacteria associated with cellulose decomposition. Finally, we used our results to develop a conceptual diagram designed to unite the study of AL in terrestrial and freshwater environments with the well-established field of marine debris research. We suggest this broad perspective will be useful for future studies which synthesize AL sources, ecosystem effects, and fate across multiple ecosystem types, and will benefit management and reduction of global AL accumulations.

Show MeSH