Zooplankton are prone to the ingestion of microplastics by mistaking them for prey. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the impacts of microplastic availability on zooplankton behavior. In this study, we investigated the effects of polystyrene microbeads on swimming patterns of the calanoid copepod Temora turbinata
under laboratory conditions. We acquired high-resolution video sequences using an optical system containing a telecentric lens and a digital camera with an acquisition rate of 20 frames per second. We estimated the mean speed, NGDR (Net-to-Gross Displacement Ratio, a dimensionless single-valued measure of straightness) and turning angle to describe the swimming behavior in three different treatments (control, low and high concentration of microplastics). Our results revealed that swimming speeds decreased up to 40% (instantaneous speed) compared to controls. The NGDR and turning angle distribution of the organisms also changed in the presence of polystyrene microbeads, both at low (100 beads mL−1
) and high microplastic concentration (1000 beads mL−1
). These results suggest that the swimming behavior of Temora turbinata
is affected by microbeads.
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