The quantification of microplastics in intertidal sediments in the Bay of Fundy, Canada
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The Bay of Fundy in Atlantic Canada is noted for the world’s highest tides, heights of which reach 15 meters (Percy, 1996; Thurston, 2011). We characterized microplastic concentrations and distribution in this region. Sediment samples were collected from 15 intertidal sites along New Brunswick’s southwestern coast. Sites were selected based on variations in tidal range (7m to 15m), exposure to prevailing winds, and proximity to urban centres. Microplastics were widespread and detected in all samples. Microplastics averaged 268 pieces per sample of 1kg (+/- SD) and total microplastic composition consisted of fibers (89%), fragments (8%) and microbeads (2%). ANOVA results indicated a significant difference between concentrations at sheltered vs. exposed sites and no significant difference between quantities at high or low tide delineations or across tidal ranges. While a larger sample size would strengthen the ability to explore factors influencing microplastics in the Bay of Fundy, the widespread detection of microplastics in our study indicate that there are no sites in the Bay of Fundy that are immune to this growing marine pollution problem.
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