Correlative Light, Electron Microscopy and Raman Spectroscopy Workflow To Detect and Observe Microplastic Interactions with Whole Jellyfish

Environ Sci Technol. 2023 Apr 25;57(16):6664-6672. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c09233. Epub 2023 Apr 14.


Many researchers have turned their attention to understanding microplastic interaction with marine fauna. Efforts are being made to monitor exposure pathways and concentrations and to assess the impact such interactions may have. To answer these questions, it is important to select appropriate experimental parameters and analytical protocols. This study focuses on medusae of Cassiopea andromeda jellyfish: a unique benthic jellyfish known to favor (sub-)tropical coastal regions which are potentially exposed to plastic waste from land-based sources. Juvenile medusae were exposed to fluorescent poly(ethylene terephthalate) and polypropylene microplastics (<300 μm), resin embedded, and sectioned before analysis with confocal laser scanning microscopy as well as transmission electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Results show that the fluorescent microplastics were stable enough to be detected with the optimized analytical protocol presented and that their observed interaction with medusae occurs in a manner which is likely driven by the microplastic properties (e.g., density and hydrophobicity).

Keywords: Cassiopea andromeda; Raman spectroscopy; correlative microscopy; medusa; microplastics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Microplastics*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Plastics / analysis
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis
  • Workflow


  • Microplastics
  • Plastics
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical