Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Pollution/Toxic Substances/Waste
Anisa Sellers - Virginia State University
Co-Author(s): Mara Walters, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA Bongkeun Song, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA
Oyster aquaculture is an important industry to support human demand with the sustainable harvest of oysters while protecting the natural population from overharvesting. However, the success of oyster growth and harvest can be significantly impacted by a disease outbreak or exposure to toxins at the larval stage in oyster hatcheries. One possible concern is microplastics in hatchery water coming into contact with oyster larvae. To understand the effects of microplastic exposure on oyster larval survival and oyster larval microbiomes, we conducted microcosm experiments with three different types of microplastic polymers including a bio-derived polymer, polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), and two petroleum-based synthetic polymers, high density polyethylene (HDPE) and nylon. The oyster larvae were incubated for 9 days under three different microplastic treatments and survival was monitored every 48 hrs. The controls without microplastic exposure had the overall highest survivals. The oyster larvae exposed to PHB had the lowest survival with 2.8% while those exposed to nylon or HDPE had similar survivals with 6.9% and 6.7%.Microbiomes in oyster larvae examined with 16S rRNA gene sequencing showed no significant differences between the different treatments. This study suggests that microplastics have negative impacts on the survival and growth of oyster larvae in hatcheries. Improvement of water treatment systems might be required to enhance the productivity of the oyster aquaculture industry.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The National Science Foundation
Faculty Advisor: Bongkeun Song, email@example.com
Role: I grew a culture of Cupriavidus necator and then harvested the PHB within the cells. I also collected around 150,000 oyster larvae were collected from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Aquaculture Genetics & Breeding Technology Center (ABC) Oyster Hatchery. The larvae were separated into fifteen 64 oz glass mason jars, with 10,000 larvae each. Starting on day two, three replicates each of 0.1 mg/L PHB, 1 mg/L PHB, 1 mg/L Nylon, and 1 mg/L HDPE, were fed to the larvae. Water changes occurred every other day, in which larvae were filtered out. Once filtered they were assessed for survival and growth under a microscope. All live oyster larvae were measured and accounted for and then placed back in their jars with new saltwater. Survival was also calculated for. At the end of the experiment I extracted the oyster larvae DNA and then performed a PCR to amplify the 16S rRNA genes.