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Size of marine debris items ingested and retained by petrels


Roman, L and Paterson, H and Townsend, KA and Wilcox, C and Hardesty, BD and Hindell, MA, Size of marine debris items ingested and retained by petrels, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 142 pp. 569-575. ISSN 0025-326X (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Crown Copyright 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.04.021


Pollution of the world's oceans by marine debris has direct consequences for wildlife, with fragments of plastic <10 mm the most abundant buoyant litter in the ocean. Seabirds are susceptible to debris ingestion, commonly mistaking floating plastics for food. Studies have shown that half of petrel species regularly ingest anthropogenic waste. Despite the regularity of debris ingestion, no studies to date have quantified the dimensions of debris items ingested across petrel species ranging in size. We excised and measured 1694 rigid anthropogenic debris items from 348 petrel carcasses of 20 species. We found that although the size of items ingested by petrels scale positively with the size of the bird, 90% of all debris items ingested across species fall within a narrow "danger zone" range of 210 mm, overlapping with the most abundant oceanic debris size. We conclude that this globally profuse size range of marine plastics is an ingestion hazard to petrels.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:seabirds, plastic, marine debris, diet, plastic ingestion, pollution, shearwater, Procellariiform
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Roman, L (Dr Lauren Roman)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:136820
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2020-01-20
Last Modified:2020-04-29

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