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Daphnia in Distress: Microplastics in our Waters

This research explores the correlation between different concentrations of microplastics and the freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna's survival and somersault and phototaxis behaviors.


Aminata Diallo, Ela Ekincioglu, Mamycoumba Diagne


Yoan Yevide

Project Period:




This research explores the correlation between microplastics and Daphnia magna survival & behavior. Daphnia magna are small planktonic crustaceans that can be found in a range of freshwater bodies. Microplastics are microscopic pieces of plastic debris that come from larger pieces of plastic that are broken down. To understand the effect of microplastics on freshwater organisms we compared the different concentrations of microplastics to see how it would affect Daphnia’ somersault behavior, phototactic behavior, and their survival rate. Our results showed us that microplastics increase Daphnia movement and stresses them. However, the effect on fitness was inconclusive. The implications of this study could be used to understand the effect plastic pollution has on freshwater organisms. Daphnia are the prey of tadpoles, salamanders, newts, aquatic insects, and many types of small fish. Therefore, one could assume that microplastics affect many aquatic organisms higher up in the food chain.

This page was originally developed by BioBus Summer 2021 Jr. Scientist William Rhee.

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