Microplastic (MP) pollution is a major environmental concern for mountain ecosystem and for high-mountain lakes in particular, which are recognized indicators of global change. In this study, the presence of MPs was assessed in abiotic (water and sediment) and biotic (zooplankton, tadpoles, fish) compartments of two high mountain lakes (Upper Lake Balma and Lower Lake Balma) in the Cottian Alps (northwest Italy). No MPs were found in water and zooplankton samples, whereas the mean MPs in sediment samples was 1.33 ± 0.67 items/m3 and 1.75 ± 0.62 items/m3 in Lower and Upper Lake Balma, respectively. The mean MPs in tadpoles of Rana temporaria was 0.33 ± 0.58 items/individual and 0.66 ± 0.58 items/individual in Lower and Upper Lake Balma, respectively. The mean number of MPs items found in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of fish (Salvelinus fontinalis) was considerably higher in specimens from the Lower (0.45 items/g GIT) than in those from the Upper Lake (0.20 items/g GIT). There was a negative relationship between fish size (weight and age) and MPs abun dance in the GIT of fish, indicating that young fish accumulated more MP items probably due to the high prey ingestion rate compared to adults. The same MPs color (blue, white, black), shape (fibers and fragments), and chemical type (polypropylene and polyethylene) were found in the compartments of both lakes. Our findings suggest the use of S. fontinalis as an indicator of MP pollution in high-mountain lakes. Further studies are needed to better understand the sources and the effects of MPs in these remote ecosystems.

Microplastics in biotic and abiotic compartments of high-mountain lakes from Alps

Antonia Concetta Elia
Writing – Review & Editing
;
2023

Abstract

Microplastic (MP) pollution is a major environmental concern for mountain ecosystem and for high-mountain lakes in particular, which are recognized indicators of global change. In this study, the presence of MPs was assessed in abiotic (water and sediment) and biotic (zooplankton, tadpoles, fish) compartments of two high mountain lakes (Upper Lake Balma and Lower Lake Balma) in the Cottian Alps (northwest Italy). No MPs were found in water and zooplankton samples, whereas the mean MPs in sediment samples was 1.33 ± 0.67 items/m3 and 1.75 ± 0.62 items/m3 in Lower and Upper Lake Balma, respectively. The mean MPs in tadpoles of Rana temporaria was 0.33 ± 0.58 items/individual and 0.66 ± 0.58 items/individual in Lower and Upper Lake Balma, respectively. The mean number of MPs items found in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of fish (Salvelinus fontinalis) was considerably higher in specimens from the Lower (0.45 items/g GIT) than in those from the Upper Lake (0.20 items/g GIT). There was a negative relationship between fish size (weight and age) and MPs abun dance in the GIT of fish, indicating that young fish accumulated more MP items probably due to the high prey ingestion rate compared to adults. The same MPs color (blue, white, black), shape (fibers and fragments), and chemical type (polypropylene and polyethylene) were found in the compartments of both lakes. Our findings suggest the use of S. fontinalis as an indicator of MP pollution in high-mountain lakes. Further studies are needed to better understand the sources and the effects of MPs in these remote ecosystems.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1545273
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