A review of microscopy and comparative molecular-based methods to characterize “Plastisphere” communities†
Plastic is currently the most abundant form of debris in the ocean. Since the early 70's, investigators have recognized the presence of life such as pennate diatoms, bryozoans and bacteria on plastic debris, sometimes referred to as the “Plastisphere”. This review provides an overview of molecular and visualization techniques used to characterize life in the Plastisphere, presents a new data portal located on the Visual Analysis of Microbial Population Structures (VAMPS) website to illustrate how one can compare plastic debris datasets collected using different high-throughput sequencing strategies, and makes recommendations on standardized operating procedures that will facilitate future comparative studies.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Microplastics in the environment