Sonja Ehlers

Sonja Ehlers
Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde · Department of Animal Ecology

Dr. rer. nat.

About

30
Publications
8,287
Reads
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274
Citations
Introduction
Currently, I am investigating the occurrence of freshwater and marine plastic pollution and the effects of microplastics on aquatic invertebrates. Before that, I studied predator nonconsumptive effects on blue mussel recruitment on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Please find more information on my website: https://sonjamehlers.weebly.com/

Publications

Publications (30)
Article
Full-text available
Plastic pollution in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean has been recorded in scientific literature since the 1980s; however, the presence of microplastic particles (<5 mm) is less understood. Here, we aimed to determine whether microplastic accumulation would vary among Antarctic and Southern Ocean regions through studying 30 deep-sea sediment cores...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastic ingestion by lower trophic level organisms is well known, whereas information on microplastic ingestion, egestion and accumulation by top predators such as cetaceans is still lacking. This study investigates microplastics in intestinal samples from harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) found along the coastline of SchleswigHolstein (Ge...
Article
Plasticrusts are a novel form of plastic debris which has only recently been discovered in Madeira Island, NE Atlantic Ocean. Plasticrusts consist of plastic encrusting wave-exposed rocky intertidal habitats and are presumably generated by waves smashing plastic debris against intertidal rocks. However, direct observations of this process are lacki...
Article
Microplastics (<5 mm) are emerging pollutants in oceans worldwide. As such small particles are easily ingested, microplastics are found in numerous pelagic and benthic organisms. However, information on microplastics in rocky intertidal organisms and habitats is relatively scant. Therefore, we examined snails and water from wave-sheltered and wave-...
Article
Pyroplastic and plastiglomerate are novel plastic forms that are currently being reported from coastal beaches worldwide. Pyroplastic is burned plastic with a rock-like appearance. Plastiglomerate is a solid bond consisting of either melted plastic attached to rock (in-situ plastiglomerate) or a melted plastic matrix containing (in)organic material...
Article
Full-text available
The Irish Sea is an important area for Norway Lobster Nephrops norvegicus fisheries, which are the most valuable fishing resource in the UK. Norway lobster are known to ingest microplastic pollution present in the sediment and have displayed reduced body mass when exposed to microplastic pollution. Here, we identified microplastic pollution in the...
Presentation
Full-text available
This presentation was given at the Ecological Society of America Meeting in August 2021. It is based on the following article: Ehlers, S. M., Ellrich, J. A. & Koop, J. H. E. (2022) Microplastic load and polymer type composition in European rocky intertidal snails: Consistency across locations, wave exposure and years. Environmental Pollution 292:...
Article
Plastiglomerate and pyroplastic are two novel plastic debris forms that were originally discovered on sandy beaches in Hawaii and the UK, respectively. While plastiglomerate consists of plastic melted together with rocks or pebbles, pyroplastic is melted plastic. Although both plastic debris forms were related to campfires, it is unclear whether th...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastic ingestion by lower trophic level organisms is well known, whereas information on microplastic ingestion, egestion and accumulation by top predators such as cetaceans is still lacking. This study investigates microplastics in intestinal samples from harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) found along the coastline of Schleswig-Holstein (G...
Article
Full-text available
This EcoPic shows a caddisfly larva which uses microplastics as case building material.
Poster
Full-text available
Plasticrusts and pyroplastic: two novel plastic debris types detected in Giglio island, Italy Plasticrusts and pyroplastic are novel plastic debris types that have only recently been reported for the first time from Madeira island (NE Atlantic Ocean) and the southern United Kingdom, respectively. While plasticrusts seemingly result from plastic d...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastic abundances have been studied intensively in the last years in marine and freshwater environments worldwide. Though several articles have been published about the Mediterranean Sea, only few studies about the Black Sea exist. The Black Sea drains into the Mediterranean Sea and may therefore significantly contribute to the Mediterranean...
Article
Full-text available
Plastic pollution has enormous impacts on freshwater and marine ecosystem health, and it is one of the topmost environmental concerns of the current geological period (i.e. the Anthropocene). Thus, the goal of our study was to provide baseline information and bridge the information gap on the occurrence of microplastics (MPs) in African freshwater...
Article
Full-text available
Caddisfly larvae occur in streams and rivers, and many caddisfly species build protective cases using material from their habitat such as sand grains. At the same time, microplastics (MPs) are regularly deposited in aquatic sediments and are incorporated into caddisfly (Lepidostoma basale) cases in the field. However, it is unknown what the effects...
Article
We report the presence of ‘plasticrusts’ and ‘pyroplastic’ from coastal habitats in Giglio island, Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy. These novel plastic debris types have only recently been described for the first time from Madeira island (NE Atlantic Ocean) and the United Kingdom, respectively. While ‘plasticrusts’ are generated by sea waves smashing plastic...
Data
Ingestion & egestion of fluorescent microplastics by the freshwater snail Radix balthica
Technical Report
Full-text available
Microplastics are pollutants threatening the health of marine, freshwater and terrestrial organisms. To analyze whether an organism is able to ingest microplastics, the organism is usually fed with expensive fluorescent microbeads and placed under a fluorescence microscope for microplastic detection. However , such equipment cannot be afforded by m...
Preprint
Full-text available
We report the presence of 'plasticrusts' and 'pyroplastic' from coastal habitats in Giglio island, Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy. These novel plastic debris types have only recently been described for the first time from Madeira island (NE Atlantic Ocean) and the United Kingdom, respectively. While 'plasticrusts' are generated by sea waves smashing plastic...
Article
Identification and quantification of microplastics (MP) in environmental samples is crucial for understanding the risk and distribution of MP in the environment. Currently, quantification of MP particles in environmental samples and the comparability of different matrices is a major research topic. Research also focusses on sample preparation, sinc...
Poster
We suggest the usage of an ultraviolet (UV) light‐emitting flashlight in combination with low‐cost fluorescent microplastics during microplastic feeding experiments. This novel method enables microplastic visualization in freshwater snail (Radix balthica) feces and, thus, provides information on microplastic retention in the snail digestive system....
Article
Freshwater environments are the route through which inland plastics are transported to the ocean, explaining why the number of freshwater microplastic (MP) studies has recently been increasing. Despite the lack of recycling and the presence of severe plastic pollution in many African countries, MPs have been scarcely reported in African freshwaters...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastics of different characteristics are incorporated into the larval cases of the freshwater caddisfly Lepidostoma basale Sonja M. Ehlers*, Werner Manz, Jochen H. E. Koop ABSTRACT: Plastic pollution is present in aquatic systems worldwide. While numerous studies investigate microplastic interactions with marine organisms, microplastic effec...
Presentation
Authors: Sonja M. Ehlers; Werner Manz; Jochen H. E. Koop Abstract: Plastic pollution is present in aquatic systems worldwide. While numerous studies investigate microplastic effects on marine organisms, microplastic effects on freshwater organisms are rarely studied. Insects, which are of high ecological importance, are particularly rarely conside...
Poster
Freshwater ecosystems worldwide are exposed to plastic debris. Therefore, the applicability and efficiency of numerous analytical methods is currently being evaluated. At the German Federal Institute of Hydrology, we are investigating the characteristics, ecological effects, fate and distribution of microplastics in freshwater systems. At the Depar...
Article
Full-text available
The dogwhelk Nucella lapillus is a rocky intertidal gastropod of the North Atlantic coast. Individual shell color varies. Common colors range between white and brown, with darker dogwhelks being more affected by heat stress than lighter-colored conspecifics. Other reported shell colors are purple, black, mauve, pink, yellow, and orange from UK coas...
Preprint
Full-text available
The dogwhelk Nucella lapillus is a rocky intertidal gastropod of the North Atlantic coast. Individual shell color varies. Common colors range between white and brown, with darker dogwhelks being more affected by heat stress than lighter-colored conspecifics. Other reported shell colors are black, mauve, pink, yellow, and orange from European coasts...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Archived project
This project aims to highlight and expand on the mechanisms that drive microplastic accumulation and their fate in marine sediments. We are examining a number of different marine systems from shelf to deep-sea environments that cover the Irish Sea, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica.
Project
This project investigates marine plastic pollution. For that, we collect organisms and environmental samples that we analyse in the lab. We use FTIR and µFTIR for polymer identification.
Project
The microplastics project (µKrO Group) of the Faculty 3: Mathematics and Sciences of the University Koblenz · Landau investigates in close cooperation with the Federal Institute of Hydrology (Koblenz) different aspects of microplastics (MP) in inland waters: - Adhesion forces of MP in biofilms - Particle distribution in freshwater systems - Identification and quantification of MP by qNMR spectroscopy - Effects of MP on invertebrate grazers - Occurrence of MP in freshwater ecosystems and effects of MP on aquatic invertebrates and microbial biofilms - Weathering and degradation of plastics as well as transformation and leaching of pollutants from plastics For further information please visit: http://uni-ko-ld.de/microplastics http://uni-ko-ld.de/mikroplastik