What goes in, must come out: combining scat-based molecular diet analysis and quantification of ingested microplastics in a marine top predator

Sarah E. Nelms*, Helen E. Parry, Kimberley A. Bennett, Tamara S. Galloway, Brendan J. Godley, David Santillo, Penelope K. Lindeque

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    Abstract

    Context: Microplastics (plastic particles <5 mm in size) are highly available for ingestion by a wide range of organisms, either through direct consumption or indirectly, via trophic transfer, from prey to predator. The latter is a poorly understood, but potentially major, route of microplastic ingestion for marine top predators.

    Approach: We developed a novel and effective methodology pipeline to investigate dietary exposure of wild top predators (grey seals; Halichoerus grypus) to microplastics, by combining
    scat-based molecular techniques with a microplastic isolation method. We employed DNA metabarcoding, a rapid method of biodiversity assessment, to garner detailed information on prey composition from scats, and investigated the potential relationship between diet and
    microplastic burden.

    Results: Outcomes of the method development process and results of both diet composition from metabarcoding analysis and detection of microplastics are presented.
    Importantly, the pipeline performed well and initial results suggest the frequency of microplastics detected in seal scats may be related to the type of prey consumed.

    Conclusions: Our non-invasive, data rich approach maximises time and resource-efficiency, while minimising costs and sample volumes required for analysis. This pipeline could be used to underpin a much-needed increase in understanding of the relationship between diet composition and rates of microplastic ingestion in high trophic-level species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1712-1722
    Number of pages11
    JournalMethods in Ecology and Evolution
    Volume10
    Issue number10
    Early online date12 Aug 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2019

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    feces
    plastics
    predator
    diet
    predators
    trophic level
    plastic
    ingestion
    biodiversity
    DNA
    seals
    methodology
    resource
    cost
    Halichoerus grypus
    method
    analysis
    dietary exposure
    isolation techniques
    rapid methods

    Cite this

    Nelms, Sarah E. ; Parry, Helen E. ; Bennett, Kimberley A. ; Galloway, Tamara S. ; Godley, Brendan J. ; Santillo, David ; Lindeque, Penelope K. . / What goes in, must come out : combining scat-based molecular diet analysis and quantification of ingested microplastics in a marine top predator. In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 2019 ; Vol. 10, No. 10. pp. 1712-1722.
    @article{33546656cccb400689d164fe21a13668,
    title = "What goes in, must come out: combining scat-based molecular diet analysis and quantification of ingested microplastics in a marine top predator",
    abstract = "Context: Microplastics (plastic particles <5 mm in size) are highly available for ingestion by a wide range of organisms, either through direct consumption or indirectly, via trophic transfer, from prey to predator. The latter is a poorly understood, but potentially major, route of microplastic ingestion for marine top predators.Approach: We developed a novel and effective methodology pipeline to investigate dietary exposure of wild top predators (grey seals; Halichoerus grypus) to microplastics, by combining scat-based molecular techniques with a microplastic isolation method. We employed DNA metabarcoding, a rapid method of biodiversity assessment, to garner detailed information on prey composition from scats, and investigated the potential relationship between diet and microplastic burden.Results: Outcomes of the method development process and results of both diet composition from metabarcoding analysis and detection of microplastics are presented. Importantly, the pipeline performed well and initial results suggest the frequency of microplastics detected in seal scats may be related to the type of prey consumed. Conclusions: Our non-invasive, data rich approach maximises time and resource-efficiency, while minimising costs and sample volumes required for analysis. This pipeline could be used to underpin a much-needed increase in understanding of the relationship between diet composition and rates of microplastic ingestion in high trophic-level species.",
    author = "Nelms, {Sarah E.} and Parry, {Helen E.} and Bennett, {Kimberley A.} and Galloway, {Tamara S.} and Godley, {Brendan J.} and David Santillo and Lindeque, {Penelope K.}",
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    What goes in, must come out : combining scat-based molecular diet analysis and quantification of ingested microplastics in a marine top predator. / Nelms, Sarah E.; Parry, Helen E. ; Bennett, Kimberley A. ; Galloway, Tamara S.; Godley, Brendan J. ; Santillo, David; Lindeque, Penelope K. .

    In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 10, No. 10, 30.09.2019, p. 1712-1722.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - What goes in, must come out

    T2 - combining scat-based molecular diet analysis and quantification of ingested microplastics in a marine top predator

    AU - Nelms, Sarah E.

    AU - Parry, Helen E.

    AU - Bennett, Kimberley A.

    AU - Galloway, Tamara S.

    AU - Godley, Brendan J.

    AU - Santillo, David

    AU - Lindeque, Penelope K.

    PY - 2019/9/30

    Y1 - 2019/9/30

    N2 - Context: Microplastics (plastic particles <5 mm in size) are highly available for ingestion by a wide range of organisms, either through direct consumption or indirectly, via trophic transfer, from prey to predator. The latter is a poorly understood, but potentially major, route of microplastic ingestion for marine top predators.Approach: We developed a novel and effective methodology pipeline to investigate dietary exposure of wild top predators (grey seals; Halichoerus grypus) to microplastics, by combining scat-based molecular techniques with a microplastic isolation method. We employed DNA metabarcoding, a rapid method of biodiversity assessment, to garner detailed information on prey composition from scats, and investigated the potential relationship between diet and microplastic burden.Results: Outcomes of the method development process and results of both diet composition from metabarcoding analysis and detection of microplastics are presented. Importantly, the pipeline performed well and initial results suggest the frequency of microplastics detected in seal scats may be related to the type of prey consumed. Conclusions: Our non-invasive, data rich approach maximises time and resource-efficiency, while minimising costs and sample volumes required for analysis. This pipeline could be used to underpin a much-needed increase in understanding of the relationship between diet composition and rates of microplastic ingestion in high trophic-level species.

    AB - Context: Microplastics (plastic particles <5 mm in size) are highly available for ingestion by a wide range of organisms, either through direct consumption or indirectly, via trophic transfer, from prey to predator. The latter is a poorly understood, but potentially major, route of microplastic ingestion for marine top predators.Approach: We developed a novel and effective methodology pipeline to investigate dietary exposure of wild top predators (grey seals; Halichoerus grypus) to microplastics, by combining scat-based molecular techniques with a microplastic isolation method. We employed DNA metabarcoding, a rapid method of biodiversity assessment, to garner detailed information on prey composition from scats, and investigated the potential relationship between diet and microplastic burden.Results: Outcomes of the method development process and results of both diet composition from metabarcoding analysis and detection of microplastics are presented. Importantly, the pipeline performed well and initial results suggest the frequency of microplastics detected in seal scats may be related to the type of prey consumed. Conclusions: Our non-invasive, data rich approach maximises time and resource-efficiency, while minimising costs and sample volumes required for analysis. This pipeline could be used to underpin a much-needed increase in understanding of the relationship between diet composition and rates of microplastic ingestion in high trophic-level species.

    U2 - 10.1111/2041-210X.13271

    DO - 10.1111/2041-210X.13271

    M3 - Article

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    JO - Methods in Ecology and Evolution

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    ER -