Historical biomonitoring of pollution trends in the North Pacific using archived samples from the Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey

Kefeng Li, Jane C. Naviaux, Sai Sachin Lingampelly, Lin Wang, Jonathan M. Monk, Claire M. Taylor, Clare Ostle, Sonia Batten, Robert K. Naviaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


First started in 1931, the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey is the longest-running and most geographically extensive marine plankton sampling program in the world. This pilot study investigates the feasibility of biomonitoring the spatiotemporal trends of marine pollution using archived CPR samples from the North Pacific. We selected specimens collected from three different locations (British Columbia Shelf, Northern Gulf of Alaska, and Aleutian Shelf) in the North Pacific between 2002 and 2020. Comprehensive profiling of the plankton chemical exposome was conducted using liquid and gas chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS and GC–MS/MS). Our results show that phthalates, plasticizers, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products were present in the plankton exposome, and that many of these pollutants have decreased in amount over the last two decades, which was most pronounced for tri-n-butyl phosphate. In addition, the plankton exposome differed significantly by regional human activities, with the most polluted samples coming from the nearshore area. Exposome-wide association analysis revealed that bioaccumulation of environmental pollutants was highly correlated with the biomass of different plankton taxa. Overall, this study demonstrates that exposomic analysis of archived samples from the CPR Survey is effective for long-term biomonitoring of the spatial and temporal trends of environmental pollutants in the marine environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161222
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomonitoring
  • Exposomics
  • Long-term surveillance
  • Marine pollution
  • Plankton


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