Last Updated:
29/06/2020 - 08:49

AQUACOSM PROJECT 2018 EXPERIMENT:

MICROPLASTICS– Impacts of microplastics in shallow freshwater lakes

 Sampling at the Mesocosm System

Time and Location

The 2018 mesocosm experiment was conducted at METU Mesocosm System (aquatic) at METU Experimental Lake (Lake Golet) between 18 June – 06 August 2018.  

Objective

The primary objective of the experiment was to evaluate the effects of microplastics (MP) in shallow freshwater lakes by exposing surface, water column and sediment of mesocosms simultaneously to the environmentally relevant mixture of various microplastic polymers.

Hypothesis

The following hypothesis were tested in this 2018 mesocosm study  (1) MPs found in the water column would stay long enough time be ingested by zooplankton and this ingestion would likely cause a reduction on zooplankton biomass especially in the high concentration; (2) MPs in the sediment would be ingested by the sediment dwelling community that would cause and observable effect of morphometry and emergence pattern; (3) MPs would be transferred between trophic levels through the ingestion of MPs by prey and predation.

Mesocosm Set-up

For this purpose, METU Mesocosm System at Lake Golet was used with 12 mesocosms with 3x4 factorial design. There were 4 tanks with Low MP Dose (L-MP) having environmentally realistic MP concentrations (0.007 g MP/m2 of surface water; 2 g MP/m3 for water column; and 8 g MP/m2 of sediment), 4 future scenario tanks with High MP Dose (H-MP) having 10x higher concentrations than L-MP, and 4 tanks with Control (C) having no MP additions. Based on the available freshwater literature on the composition of microplastics in various compartments, we exposed sediment layer with the following MP composition: 45% polyethylene; 20 % polystyrene; 15% poplypropylene; 10% polyamide; and 10 % polyvinylchloride. On the other hand, surface layer was exposed to 50% polyethylene; 40% poplypropylene; and 10% polystyrene. For the water column, we used fluorescently-labelled polyethylene (50% green polyethylene with 63-75 µm in diameter, 50% red polyethylene with 10-45 in diameter) to track ingestion and transfer of MP between trophic groups.

Microplastics used in the experiment

International Cooperation

We had 2 TA Access teams with projects MICROFREAK and EMPOWER, comprising scientists from Serbia, USA, Czech Republic and UK.

TA teams at dinner

Team MICROFREAK:

Team Leader

Asst. Prof. Boris Jovanovic, Natural Resources Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, IA, USA

Team Members

PhD student Jelena Stankovic, Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, University of Niš, Serbia 

PhD student Dimitrija Savic Zdravkovic, Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, University of Niš, Serbia 

Asst. Prof. Djuradj Milosevic, Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, University of Niš, Serbia 

Team EMPOWER:

Team leader

Assoc. Prof. David Boukal, Department of Ecosystem Biology, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic 

Team members

Dr. Heidrun Feuchtmayr, Lake Ecosystems Group , UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology-CEH, UK

PhD student Derya Öztürk, Aquatic Ecology Lab., Department of Ecosystem Biology, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic

PhD student Lucie Vebrova, Aquatic Ecology Lab., Department of Ecosystem Biology, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic 

PhD student Jessica Richardson, Lake Ecosystems Group , UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology-CEH, UK