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Microplastics in the New Zealand green lipped mussel Perna canaliculus.


Microplastics are increasingly being recognised as a potential threat to New Zealand's coastal waters, however there is limited data on abundance of microplastics in marine organisms for New Zealand. Microplastic ingestion by the iconic green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus was assessed. Microplastics were found in Perna canaliculus from 6 out of 9 locations sampled at abundances ranging from 0 to 1.5 particles per mussel and tissue microplastic concentrations ranged from 0 to 0.48 particles g tissue -1 (wet wt). The microplastics ranged in size from 50 to 700 μm with a median diameter of 100 μm. Polyethylene was the most frequently detected polymer with fragments the most common morphotype. These results indicate that microplastics are widespread in New Zealand's coastal waters and further assessment of microplastic contamination of New Zealand coastal environments and biota is warranted.

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