Life Science, Non-NGSS Articles, S&F 2: Body Systems (HS), S&F 3: Body Systems (MS), Structure and Function

Feeding Plastic to Copepods

Adverse effects of microplastics and oxidative stress-induced MAPK/Nfr2 pathway-mediated defense mechanisms in the marine copepod Paracyclopina nana

SUMMARY: Researchers fed copepods (specifically Paracyclopina nana or P. nana) three different sizes of plastic beads: 6um, 0.5um, and 0.05um. They found that the smaller the beads, the longer they stayed in the copepod’s bodies and the more toxic the beads were. Toxic effects include growth and reproduction delays and the production of various enzymes that regulate oxidative stress. The discussion section of this article talks about the implications of these micro and nanoplastic particles in zooplankton and the bioaccumulation of plastic pieces in top predators.

LESSON COMMENTS: This article is written by some of the same authors as another article in this database [1]. The same topics can be covered and it would be interesting for students to read the articles together to analyze differences and similarities in methodology, results, and conclusion.

A good way to teach students about research skills is to find similar articles (preferably written by the same research group) and read them in chronological order based on the dates published. Students get a better idea of the research/experiment process, plus, they get to apply the same concepts to different experiments.

Jeong, C. B., Kang, H. M., Lee, M. C., Kim, D. H., Han, J., Hwang, D. S., Souissi, S., Lee, S. J., Shin, K. H., Park, H. G., … Lee, J. S. (2017). Adverse effects of microplastics and oxidative stress-induced MAPK/Nrf2 pathway-mediated defense mechanisms in the marine copepod Paracyclopina nana. Scientific reports, 7, 41323.