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Microplastics and synthetic particles ingested by deep-sea amphipods in six of the deepest marine ecosystems on Earth

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alan Jamieson, Lauren Brooks, Dr William ReidORCiD, Dr Thomas Linley



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Whilst there is now an established recognition of microplastic pollution in the oceans, and the detrimental effects this may have on marine animals, the ocean depth at which such contamination is ingested by organisms has still not been established. Here we detect the presence of ingested microplastics in the hindguts of Lysianassoidea amphipod populations, in six deep ocean trenches from around the Pacific Rim (Japan, Izu-Bonin, Mariana, Kermadec, New Hebrides and the Peru-Chile trenches), at depths ranging from 7000 m to 10,890 m. This illustrates that microplastic contaminants occur in the very deepest reaches of the oceans. Over 72% of individuals examined (65 of 90) contained at least one microparticle. The number of microparticles ingested per individual across all trenches ranged from 1 to 8. The mean and standard error of microparticles varied per trench, from 0.9 ± 0.4 (New Hebrides Trench) to 3.3 ± 0.7 (Mariana Trench). A subsample of microfibres and fragments analysed using FTIR were found to be a collection of plastic and synthetic materials (Nylon, polyethylene, polyamide, polyvinyl alcohol, polyvinylchloride, often with inorganic filler material), semi synthetic (rayon and lyocell) and natural fibre (ramie). Notwithstanding, this study reports the deepest record of microplastic ingestion, indicating that anthropogenic debris is bioavailable to organisms at some of the deepest locations in the Earth’s oceans.microplastic; hadal; trench; microfibre; marine; pollution; Hirondellea; Eurythenes

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jamieson AJ, Brooks LSR, Reid WDK, Piertney SB, Narayanaswamy BE, Linley TD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Royal Society Open Science

Year: 2019

Volume: 6

Issue: 2

Print publication date: 06/02/2019

Online publication date: 27/02/2019

Acceptance date: 22/01/2019

Date deposited: 23/01/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2054-5703

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing


DOI: 10.1098/rsos.180667


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