Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Eric Rosch


Microplastics, as defined by NOAA, are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long, which cannot be seen with the naked eye. The production of plastic products and plastic use has exponentially increased since the start of plastic usage. Consequently, the amount of plastic waste has also increased greatly. Plastic waste that has been thrown out by humans into the environment breaks down into microscopic pieces, causing harm to organisms that live there. The purpose of this study was to see if there were microplastics passing through fiddler crabs (genus Uca), collected from the marsh at Waties Island, SC. Fecal samples from the crabs were teased apart and examined under a microscope to quantify the number and the types of microplastics present. Microplastics were found in almost every sample taken, indicating that microplastics are present in even in this relatively pristine environment. The effects of the intake of microplastics on fiddler crab survival and reproductive fitness will have profound impacts on other organisms through predation and other processes, since fiddler crabs are an important low trophic organism at Waties Island, SC.