Microplastics and anthropogenic particles serve as sources of pollution in the marine environment, and also as biofouling surfaces. The organic matter that accumulates on them can have an effect on the health of marine creatures. Alternatively, the particles themselves may be ingested and cause harm. Plankton tows were collected at five sites and examined for plastics, particles, and plankton. Densities of particles both relative to the water and to the plankton were computed and found to be high compared to the nearby Gulf Stream. The most common particle was determined to be a lignin related to cotton, a biodegradable substance that poses no obvious threat to the health Indian River Lagoon (IRL).
Nickerson, Alexander K., "Drifting Anthropogenic Fibers in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida" (2015). Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences Student Publications. 9.