Jellyfish as innovative bioindicator for plastic pollution

Date of publication 24 August 2020

Authors Macali, A.; Bergami, E.

Sources Ecological Indicators : 115,



The monitoring of plastic pollution through marine biota is a difficult task, which is receiving increasing attention nowadays. A selection of appropriate bioindicator species for plastic ingestion has been proposed, mostly covering benthic filter-feeding organisms or large marine vertebrates. However, monitoring programs involving a broad range of synergetic bioindicators are still missing. Jellyfish have recently been reported as target organisms for marine litter, being able to internalise a number of anthropogenic fragments, from macro- to microplastics. With this perspective, we consider the trophic role of jellyfish and critically discuss its use as a novel bioindicator for plastic pollution on a global scale. Being a widespread energy source in pelagic and deep-sea food webs worldwide and occurring at high densities, jellyfish may represent the invertebrate bioindicator counterpart to monitor plastic pollution in pelagic waters, along with their common predators, and we recommend its inclusion in future monitoring surveys.

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