Microorganisms not only rule the marine foodweb by their abundance, but also by their vital part in all biogeochemical processes. Many microorganisms prefer to grow in biofilms, as this lifestyle offers efficient nutrient utilization, protection, and dispersal. As microplastic is abundant in marine waters and represents a durable hence attractive surface for colonizing microorganisms, the understanding of plastic biofilms and their role within the marine foodweb is essential. We carried out exposure experiments and field sampling of microplastic in European waters, comparing biofilms at different stations, seasons, and different polymers. Biofilm composition was analyzed using scanning-electron-microscopy and high-throughput sequencing. Results suggest an important role within plastic biofilms of photosynthetically active colonizers, as well as members of the Bacteriodetes. Distinct differences to reference communities from seawater were observed, while taxa overlaps with communities from non-plastic surfaces hint at a generic biofilm community. Strong spatial and seasonal influence on the plastic communities was evident. In the light of these initial findings, we currently tackle the question whether marine plastic serves as a vector for potential pathogens from natural and anthropogenic sources.


Oberbeckmann, S., Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende, Germany, sonja.oberbeckmann@io-warnemuende.de

Duhaime, M. B., University of Michigan, USA, duhaimem@umich.edu

Osborn, A. M., RMIT University, Australia, mark.osborn@rmit.edu.au

Labrenz, M., Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende, matthias.labrenz@io-warnemuende.de


Oral presentation

Session #:101
Date: 2/27/2015
Time: 10:45
Location: Machado (Floor -2)

Presentation is given by student: No