pdf WQ12 Microplastics in the Great Lakes - A Review

Authors: Arielle Earn, Kennedy Bucci, Chelsea M. Rochman

Author Affiliation: 

University of Toronto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, St. George Campus, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Journal: Journal of Great Lakes Research

Abstract: Plastic pollution is ubiquitous in freshwater systems worldwide, and the Laurentian Great Lakes are no exception. We conducted a systematic review to synthesize the current state of the literature on plastic pollution, including macroplastics (>5 mm) and microplastics (<5 mm), in the Great Lakes.We completed a second systematic review of plastic pollution and its impact on freshwater ecosystems in general to inform how plastic in the Great Lakes may impact wildlife. Among studies published in the literature, we found 390 tested effects, 234 (60%) of which were detected and 156 (40%) of which were not; almost all of the freshwater effects (>98%) were tested on microplastics. Based on a subset of these papers, we found that the shape and size of a particle likely affects whether an effect is detected, e.g., more effects are detected for smaller particles.