Garden City High SchoolClass of 2023Garden City, NY
- "Mussels and Microplastics: Filtration Mechanisms and their Potential in Pollution Remediation Efforts" with mentor Emily (Feb. 10, 2022)
Mussels and Microplastics: Filtration Mechanisms and their Potential in Pollution Remediation Efforts
Started Oct. 24, 2021
Abstract or project description
Microplastics are a critical pollution threat due to the health risks they pose to humans and the greater marine ecosystems they are often found in. In an attempt to mitigate the amount of microplastic pollution found in the oceans, this literature review explored how and why mussels filter microplastics and if those mechanisms can be used as an avenue for large-scale pollution removal efforts. It was found that, although mussels are very efficient in the uptake of microplastic particles, they are not suitable for remediation efforts. Using them as filters is currently unfeasible as it could have negative effects on people and the mussels themselves. Furthermore, introducing new mussel species to a pre-existing community could have unintended ecological consequences. However, there is massive potential for mussels to be used as indicator species that could monitor the pollution concentrations in a given area. KEYWORDS: mussels, microplastics, filtration
This literature review sought to answer the following questions:
- How do mussels filter microplastics?
- Are any specific mussel species preferable for filtration?
- Can the mussel filtration mechanism be implemented into large-scale pollution management efforts?
These are valuable questions to answer as microplastic pollution continues to be an issue in today’s marine ecosystems. Without intervention to rectify the current levels of ocean pollution, the problem will continue to grow as more and more plastic is introduced to the environment. Mussels are a compelling potential solution as they naturally filter water in their immediate surroundings. The goal of this literature review is to discover a promising link between how mussels filter water in their environment and how microplastics can be filtered from the ocean.