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Limnology and Oceanography Letters

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Microplastics -- Environmental aspects, Microplastics -- Measurement, Microplastics -- Analysis, Aquatic organisms -- Effect of microplastics on


The study of environmental microplastics has increased over the past decade, with hundreds of new studies and resultant papers on the presence, fate, and sources of microplastics in marine and freshwater systems (Fig. 1). Despite the explosion of interest in the topic and in comparison to the research on the presence of microplastics in marine or fresh waters, there have been notably fewer studies on the extent to which these debris items are ingested by aquatic organisms and far fewer on the potential consequences, or response to their presence in organismal guts, tissues, and food webs. Even less research has focused on the smallest plastic debris items, nanoplastics (< 1 μm). In this special issue on Microplastics in marine and freshwater organisms: Presence and potential effects, we highlight and address some of the many remaining questions. Articles in the issue examine the following: occurrence in freshwater fish (Hurt et al., Simmerman et al.), effects in freshwater plants (Dovidat et al.), reproductive effects, trophic transfer (Athey et al., Horn et al.), sensitivity in early life stages (Athey et al.), spatiotemporal variability in microplastics (Baechler et al. A, B), connections between feeding strategies, and microplastic ingestion (Caldwell et al., Not et al., Harris and Carrington) among others. As an introduction to this special issue, here we briefly discuss research gaps, challenges, and solutions to this important topic.


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