Water-Related News

FGCU researches studying the impact of microplastics in oysters in Estero Bay

The seafood you eat is impacted by plastic pollution. For years, scientists have known this was happening in some bodies of water. New research at FGCU reveals it is also happening in Southwest Florida.

Biologists found plastic in oysters in Estero Bay.

A single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. That helps our water quality, but oysters can’t filter all that water if they’re full of plastic.

Inside a small lab at FGCU’s Water School, two women are hard at work looking inside oysters’ stomachs. “We looked at, I think, 15 oysters, and we found microplastics in all of them,” said Dr. Melissa May, with the FGCU Water School.

Microplastics are little tiny pieces of plastic. They have been found inside the oysters sampled from Estero Bay.

Dr. May said plastic gets in our water in all kinds of ways. “From laundry to you washing your car can have tiny little pieces of plastic. So, the most common are actually fibers from our clothing,” said Dr. May.

This research is Maddie Bernstein’s senior project. She said oysters couldn’t filter the microplastics out of their systems, “Because they are made up of specific chemicals that don’t break down,” said Bernstein.