Pollution and Meiofauna—Old Topics, New Hazards

  • Olav GiereEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Biology book series (BRIEFSBIOL)


Regrettably, pollution, in one or another form, will remain a permanent hazard even in the future. So, what is new with studies on pollution, where is the forward perspective? In the last years, new developments caused new sources of pollution with a risk potential of an unprecedented, global scale: water acidification through climate change and environmental impact of plastic debris. Other pollutants envisaged here are indeed ‘old’, but their possible fields of impact are new and require novel studies in hitherto untouched reaches: petroleum hydrocarbons widespread at the deep-sea floor and in groundwater layers.


  1. Andrady L (2011) Microplastics in the marine environment. Mar Pollut Bull 62:1596–1605Google Scholar
  2. Baguley JG, Montagna PA, Cooksey C et al (2015) Community response of deep-sea soft-sediment metazoan meiofauna to the Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 528:127–140Google Scholar
  3. Barker S, Elderfield H (2002) Foraminiferal calcification response to glacial–interglacial changes in atmospheric CO2. Science 297:833–836Google Scholar
  4. Barrows APW, Cathey SE, Petersen CW (2018) Marine environment microfiber contamination: global patterns and the diversity of microparticle origins. Environ Pollut 237:275–284Google Scholar
  5. Beiras R, Tato T (2019) Microplastics do not increase toxicity of a hydrophobic organic chemical to marine plankton. Mar Pollut Bull 138:58–62Google Scholar
  6. Bellard C, Bertelsmeier C, Leadley P et al (2012) Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity. Ecol Lett 15:365–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bergmann M, Wirzberger V, Krumpen T et al (2017) High quantities of microplastic in Arctic deep-sea sediments from the Hausgarten observatory. Environ Sci Technol 51:11000–11010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bik HM, Halanych KM, Sharma J, Thomas WK (2012) Dramatic shifts in benthic microbial eukaryote communities following the deepwater horizon oil spill. PLoS ONE 7(6):e38550. Scholar
  9. Braeckman U, Van Colen C, Guilini K et al (2014) Empirical evidence reveals seasonally dependent reduction in nitrification in coastal sediments subjected to near future ocean acidification. PLoS ONE 9(10):e1081 53.
  10. Brannock PM, Halanych KM (2015) Meiofaunal community analysis by high-throughput sequencing: comparison of extraction, quality filtering, and clustering methods. Mar Genom 23:67–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Byrne M (2011) Impact of ocean warming and ocean acidification on marine invertebrate life history stages: vulnerabilities and potential for persistence in a changing ocean. Oceanog Mar Biol Ann Rev 49:1–42Google Scholar
  12. Chen SS, Sun Y, Tsang DCW et al (2017) Potential impact of flowback water from hydraulic fracturing on agricultural soil quality: metal/metalloid bioaccessibility, microtox bioassay, and enzyme activities. Sci Total Environ 579:1419–1426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Claessens M, Van Cauwenberghe L, Vandegehuchte MB, Janssen CR (2013) New techniques for the detection of microplastics in sediments and field collected organisms. Mar Pollut Bull 70:227–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clements JC, Darrow ES (2018) Eating in an acidifying ocean: a quantitative review of elevated CO2 effects on the feeding rates of calcifying marine invertebrates. Hydrobiologia 820:1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cole M, Lindeque P, Fileman E et al (2015) The impact of polystyrene microplastics on feeding, function and fecundity in the marine copepod Calanus helgolandicus. Environ Sci Technol 49(2):1130–1137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Creer S, Fonseca VG, Porazinska DL et al (2010) Ultrasequencing of the meiofaunal biosphere: practice, pitfalls and promises. Mol Ecol 19(Suppl 1):4–20. Scholar
  17. Dahms H-U, Schizas NV, James RA et al (2018) Marine hydrothermal vents as templates for global change scenarios. Hydrobiologia 818:1–10. Scholar
  18. DiGiulio DC, Jackson RB (2016) Impact to underground sources of drinking water and domestic wells from production well stimulation and completion practices in the Pavillion, Wyoming, field. Environ Sci Technol 50:4524–4536.
  19. Erni-Cassola G, Gibson MI, Thompson RC et al (2017) Lost, but found with Nile Red: a novel method for detecting and quantifying small microplastics (1–20 μm) in environmental samples. Environ Sci Technol 51(23):13641–13648Google Scholar
  20. Fonseca G, Fontaneto D, Di Domenico M (2017) Addressing biodiversity shortfalls in meiofauna. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 502:26–38.
  21. Fontaneto D, Flot J-F, Tang CQ (2015) Guidelines for DNA taxonomy, with a focus on the meiofauna. Mar Biodiv 45:433–451Google Scholar
  22. GESAMP (2015) Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: a global assessment (Kershaw PJ (ed)) (IMO/FAO/UNESCOIOC/ UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint group of experts on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection). Rep Stud GESAMP No. 90, 96 pGoogle Scholar
  23. GESAMP (2016) Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: part two of a global assessment (Kershaw PJ, Rochman CM, eds) (IMO/FAO/ UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint group of experts on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection). Rep Stud GESAMP No. 93, 220 pGoogle Scholar
  24. Green DS, Boots B, Sigwart J et al (2016) Effects of conventional and biodegradable microplastics on a marine ecosystem engineer (Arenicola marina) and sediment nutrient cycling. Environ Pollut 208 B:426–434Google Scholar
  25. Gusmão F, Di Domenico M, Amaral ACZ et al (2016) In situ ingestion of microfibres by meiofauna from sandy beaches. Environ Pollut 216:584–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hägerbäumer A, Höss S, Ristau K et al (2016) A comparative approach using ecotoxicological methods from single-species bioassays to model ecosystems. Environ Toxicol Chem 35:2987–2997Google Scholar
  27. Haynert K, Schönfeld J, Schiebel R et al (2014) Response of benthic foraminifera to ocean acidification in their natural sediment environment: a long-term culturing experiment. Biogeosciences 11:1581–1597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hidalgo-Ruz V, Gutow L, Thompson RC, Thiel M (2012) Microplastics in the marine environment: a review of the methods used for identification and quantification. Environ Sci Technol 46:3060–3075CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hu P, Dubinsky EA, Probst A et al (2017) Simulation of deepwater horizon oil plume reveals substrate specialization within a complex community of hydrocarbon degraders. PNAS 114(28).
  30. Ingels J, dos Santos G, Hicks A (2018) Short-term CO2 exposure and temperature rise effects on metazoan meiofauna and free-living nematodes in sandy and muddy sediments: results from a flume experiment. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 502:211–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Karakolis EG, Nguyen B, You JB et al (2018) Digestible fluorescent coatings for cumulative quantification of microplastic ingestion. Environ Sci Technol Lett 5:62–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. King W, Sebens KP (2018) Non-additive effects of air and water warming on an intertidal predator-prey interaction. Mar Biol 165:64.
  33. Koelmans AA, Bakir A, Burton GA, Janssen CR (2016) Microplastic as a vector for chemicals in the aquatic environment. Critical review and model-supported re-interpretation of empirical studies. Environ Sci Technol 50(7):3315–3326Google Scholar
  34. Kovats S, Depledge M, Haines A et al (2014) The health implications of fracking. Lancet 383(9919):757–758.
  35. Kurihara H, Ishimatsu A, Shirayama Y (2007) Effects of elevated seawater CO2 concentration on the meiofauna. J Mar Sci Technol 15:17–22Google Scholar
  36. Lenz R, Enders K, Nielsen TG et al (2016) Microplastic exposure studies should be environmentally realistic. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(29):E4121–E4122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Li WC, Tse HF, Fok L (2016) Plastic waste in the marine environment: a review of sources, occurrence and effects. Sci Total Environ 566–567:333–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McIntyre-Wressnig A, Bernhard JM, McCorkle DC, Hallock P (2013) Non-lethal effects of ocean acidification on the symbiont-bearing benthic foraminifer Amphistegina gibbosa. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 472:45–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Meadows AS, Ingels J, Widdicombe S et al (2015) Effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on an intertidal meiobenthic community. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 469:44–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mevenkamp L, Ong EZ, Van Colen C et al (2018) Combined, short-term exposure to reduced seawater pH and elevated temperature induces community shifts in an intertidal meiobenthic assemblage. Mar Environ Res 133:32–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Molari M, Guilini K, Lott C et al (2018) CO2 leakage alters biogeochemical and ecological functions of submarine sands. Sci Adv 4:eaao2040Google Scholar
  42. Montagna PA, Baguley JG, Cooksey C et al (2013) Deep-sea benthic footprint of the deepwater horizon blowout. PLoS ONE 8(8):e70540. Scholar
  43. Moos Nv, Burkhardt-Holm P, Köhler A (2012) Uptake and effects of microplastics on cells and tissue of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis L. after an experimental exposure. Environ Sci Technol 46:11327–11335Google Scholar
  44. Oh JH, Kim D, Kim TW et al (2017) Effect of increased pCO2 in seawater on survival rate of different developmental stages of the harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus japonicus. Anim Cells Syst 21(3):217–222. Scholar
  45. Pascal P-Y, Fleeger JW, Galvez F, Carman KR (2010) The toxicological interaction between ocean acidity and metals in coastal meiobenthic copepods. Mar Pollut Bull 60:2201–2208. Scholar
  46. Paul-Pont I, Lacroix C, González Fernández C et al (2016) Exposure of marine mussels Mytilus spp. to polystyrene microplastics: toxicity and influence on fluoranthene bioaccumulation. Environ Pollut 216:724–737.
  47. Paul-Pont I, Tallec K, González-Fernández C (2018) Constraints and priorities for conducting experimental exposures of marine organisms to microplastics. Front Mar Sci 5:252.
  48. Peeken I, Primke S, Beyer B et al (2018) Arctic sea ice is an important temporal sink and means of transport for microplastic. Nat Comm
  49. Pörtner H-O (2008) Ecosystem effects of ocean acidification in times of ocean warming: a physiologist’s view. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 373:203–217Google Scholar
  50. Rassmann J, Lansard B, Gazeau F et al (2018) Impact of ocean acidification on the biogeochemistry and meiofaunal assemblage of carbonate-rich sediments: Results from core incubations (Bay of Villefranche, NW Mediterranean Sea). Mar Chem 203:102–119Google Scholar
  51. Reddy CM, Arey JS (2017) Did dispersants help responders breathe easier? Chemical spray in Deepwater Horizon improved air quality at surface. Oceanus Mag WHOI 53(1), online Winter 2017Google Scholar
  52. Reuscher MG, Baguley JG, Conrad-Forrest N et al (2017) Temporal patterns of deepwater horizon impacts on the benthic infauna of the northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope. PLoS ONE 12(6):e0179923.
  53. Ricketts ER, Kennett JP, Hill TM, Barry JP (2009) Effects of carbon dioxide sequestration on California margin deep-sea foraminiferal assemblages. Mar Micropaleontol 72:165–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Santos ACC, Choueri RB, Pauly GDFE et al (2018) Is the microcosm approach using meiofauna community descriptors a suitable tool for ecotoxicological studies? Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 147:945–953CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sarmento VC, Souza TP, Esteves AM, Santos PJP (2015) Effects of seawater acidification on a coral reef meiofauna community. Coral Reefs 34:955–966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sarmento VC, Pinheiro BR, Montes MJF, Santos PJP (2017) Impact of predicted climate change scenarios on a coral reef meiofauna community. ICES J Mar Sci.
  57. Semprucci F, Balsamo M, Sandulli R (2016) Assessment of the ecological quality (EcoQ) of the Venice lagoon using the structure and biodiversity of the meiofaunal assemblages. Ecol Ind 67:451–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stoch F, Artheau M, Brancelj A et al (2009) Biodiversity indicators in European ground waters: towards a predictive model of stygobiotic species richness. Freshw Biol 54:745–755CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Taylor ML, Gwinnett C, Robinson LF, Woodall LC (2016) Plastic microfiber ingestion by deep-sea organisms. Sci Rep 6:33997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Turner E, Montagna PA (2016) The max bin regression method to identify maximum bioindicator responses to ecological drivers. Ecol Inform 36:118–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. U.S. EPA (2016) Hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas impacts from the hydraulic fracturing water cycle on drinking water resources in the United States (Final report). US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-16/236FGoogle Scholar
  62. Van Cauwenberghe L, Claessens M, Vandegehuchte MB, Janssen CR (2015a) Microplastics are taken up by mussels (Mytilus edulis) and lugworms (Arenicola marina) living in natural habitats. Environ Pollut 199:10–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Van Cauwenberghe L, Devriese L, Galgani F et al (2015b) Microplastics in sediments: a review of techniques, occurrence and effects. Mar Environ Res 111:5–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wang J, Tan Z, Peng J et al (2016) The behaviors of microplastics in the marine environment. Mar Environ Res 113:7–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Warner NR, Christie CA, Jackson RB, Vengosh A (2013) Impacts of shale gas wastewater disposal on water quality in western Pennsylvania. Environ Sci Technol 47(20):11849–11857. Scholar
  66. Wegner A, Besseling E, Foekema EM et al (2012) Effects of nanopolystyrene on the feeding behavior of the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis L.). Environ Toxicol Chem 31(11):2490–2497Google Scholar
  67. Welden NAC, Cowie PR (2016) Long-term microplastic retention causes reduced body condition in the langoustine, Nephrops norvegicus. Environ Pollut 218 B:895–900Google Scholar
  68. Wright SL, Rowe D, Thompson RC, Galloway TS (2013) Microplastic ingestion decreases energy reserves in marine worms. Curr Biol 23:R1031eR1033.
  69. Zeppilli D, Sarrazin J, Leduc D et al (2015) Is the meiofauna a good indicator for climate change and anthropogenic impacts? Mar Biodiv 45:505–535Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität Hamburg (Emeritus)HamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations