Commercially important mangrove crabs are more susceptible to microplastic contamination than other brachyuran species

Nur Hannah Abd Rahim, Stefano Cannicci, Yusof Shuaib Ibrahim, Christelle Not, Izwandy Idris, Jarina Mohd Jani, Farid Dahdouh Guebas, Behara Satyanarayana

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Abstract

Brachyuran crabs are ecologically and economically important macrofauna in mangrove habitats. However, they are exposed to various contaminants, including plastics, which bioaccumulate in relation to their feeding modes.
Setiu Wetlands is a unique place on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia where different ecosystems such as mangroves, lagoon, beaches, etc., are duly connected and influencing each other. In recent years, the shifted river
mouth has threatened these wetlands, causing severe hydrodynamic changes in the lagoon, especially in the core mangrove zone. The present study tested microplastics (MPs) contamination in the mangroves through brachyuran crabs as indicators. Three sampling sites, namely Pulau Layat, Kampung Pengkalan Gelap, and Pulau Sutung were chosen. The four abundant crab species Parasesarma eumolpe, Metaplax elegans, Austruca annulipes, and Scylla olivacea, which display different feeding behaviours were collected from all sites covering the dry
(Feb–Mar 2021) and the wet (Dec 2021–Jan 2022) seasonal periods. There were significant differences in the seasonal abundance of MPs among crab species. The highest accumulation of MPs in the crab stomachs in the dry season could be linked to subdued water circulation and poor material dispersion. Besides the lower MPs in the wet period due to improved water exchange conditions, its significant presence in the stomachs of S. olivacea indicates the role of its feeding behaviour as a carnivore. In addition, the micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (micro-FTIR) revealed the widespread occurrence of polymers such as rayon and polyester in all species across the sites. Given the fact that crabs like S. olivacea are commercially important and the ones
contaminated with MPs can cause detrimental effects on the local community’s health, further managerial actions are needed to assure sustainable management of the Setiu Wetlands.
Original languageEnglish
Article number166271
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume903
Issue number166271
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was jointly supported by the FRGS research grant (FRGS/1/2022/STG03/UMT/02/4) (Vote #59694) and the Mangrove Research Unit (MARU) (Vote #63906). Authors are grateful to the financial authorities at the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysia and the MARU. FD-G and SB were supported by the European Commission-funded Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree on Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems – TROPIMUNDO (2019-1451). Special thanks to the three unknown referees for their objective criticism and valuable comments which helped us to improve this manuscript substantially. Also, we thank the Setiu Wetlands State Park Management Council for giving the permission to conduct this study. We thank everyone involved in providing the research facilities, MPs technical assistance and sample collection; MRIG members, UMT staff and students especially Fazne, Mariam, Fatin and Yien, as well as the local fishermen.

Funding Information:
The present study was jointly supported by the FRGS research grant ( FRGS/1/2022/STG03/UMT/02/4 ) (Vote #59694) and the Mangrove Research Unit (MARU) (Vote #63906). Authors are grateful to the financial authorities at the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) , Malaysia and the MARU . FD-G and SB were supported by the European Commission -funded Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree on Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems – TROPIMUNDO (2019-1451). Special thanks to the three unknown referees for their objective criticism and valuable comments which helped us to improve this manuscript substantially. Also, we thank the Setiu Wetlands State Park Management Council for giving the permission to conduct this study. We thank everyone involved in providing the research facilities, MPs technical assistance and sample collection; MRIG members, UMT staff and students especially Fazne, Mariam, Fatin and Yien, as well as the local fishermen.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Brachyuran crabs Seasonal impact Water circulation Plastic waste Setiu wetlands Malaysia

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