MICROBIAL SUCCESSION ON PLASTIC MARINE DEBRIS: DEVELOPMENT OF THE “PLASTISPHERE” COMMUNITY.
Recent studies have revealed a diverse microbial community on plastic marine debris in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the so-called “Plastisphere”. How this community develops over time on different types of plastic and in different geographic areas of the world ocean is unknown. We immersed sterile polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and glass samples in temperate (Woods Hole, MA, USA) and tropical (St. Georges, Grenada) coastal surface waters, and then monitored the development of microbial communities on these substrates using quantitative counts of scanning electron micrographs and next-generation amplicon sequencing. A variety of pennate diatoms colonized plastic marine debris within the first week and diatoms dominated the early communities in both locations, followed by bacteria. Over time the community changed and other groups such as sessile ciliates colonized the plastic. Communities on expanded polystyrene developed more slowly than on the other substrates, and total coverage increased more quickly in temperate waters than tropical waters. Changes in the diversity and composition of communities over time may provide clues to the age of plastic marine debris, which is currently difficult to determine.
Zettler, E. R., Sea Education Association, USA, email@example.com
Morrall, C., St. George's University, Grenada, CMorrall@sgu.edu
Proskurowski, G., University of Washington, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mincer, T. J., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA, email@example.com
Amaral-Zettler, L. A., Marine Biological Laboratory, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
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