Microplastic pollution in coastal British Columbia: a baseline assessment of contamination in blue mussels

Microplastic pollution is an emerging threat to marine environments. Microplastics (small plastic polymers <5mm in diameter) are the result of large plastic pieces breaking down into smaller and smaller fragments when exposed to high temperatures and light. Beach litter contributes to microplastic pollution. Aquatic animals such as shellfish feed on microplastics resulting in negative health effects. In the proposed study, Julie Dimitrijevic will complete a three-part project to determine the accumulation rate of microplastics by blue mussels in southern British Columbia. Live mussels will be placed in the marine environment for 60 days to determine the number of microplastics consumed in the wild. A laboratory study will determine plastic pieces consumed compared to how many plastic pieces are rejected as “pseudofaeces” after filter feeding. Lastly, a global contamination snapshot will be developed using mussels provided from 18 international locations. TO BE CONT'D

Faculty Supervisor:

Leah Bendell


Julie Dimitrijevic


Vancouver Aquarium




Environmental industry


Simon Fraser University



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