Behaviour 2019
Do microplastics impair dominance interactions in fish? A test of the vector hypothesis
Kadijah Blevins1, Abby Bourne1, Ally Swank1,2, Jessica Ward1. 1Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, United States; 2Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, United States

Microplastics (MPs) are globally ubiquitous in aquatic environments and are a critical environmental issue. Not only do they affect the behavior and physiology of affected organisms, but they also act as a vector of exposure for other aquatic pollutants. However, little is known about the independent and interacting effects of microplastics and other common contaminants on the behavior of fish. We exposed male fathead minnows, Pimephales promelas, to virgin MPs or MPs exposed to a common environmental (EE2; low or high concentration) for 30 days. We then staged competitive territory acquisition trials against nonexposed males. Microplastic exposure did not have a significant effect on a male’s ability to compete for and obtain a territory. These results improve our knowledge of the direct and indirect (vector-borne) effects of MPs on the behavior of aquatic vertebrates.