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Marine pollution: emerging issues and challenges


Strain, EMA and Lai, RWS and White, CA and Piarulli, S and Leung, KMY and Airoldi, L and O'Brien, A, Marine pollution: emerging issues and challenges, Frontiers in Marine Science, 9 Article 918984. ISSN 2296-7745 (2022) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2022 Strain, Lai, White, Piarulli, Leung, Airoldi and O’Brien. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.918984


With the rapid development of human society, there is an increasing diversity and geographic spread of substances being released into the marine environment. Above threshold values these substances can have negative effects on the biological component of these systems and are therefore classified as pollutants (Cabral et al. 2019). Pollutants can be introduced to marine environments directly through human activities, indirectly through runoff such as discharges of untreated or partially treated wastewater, and or by exchange with the atmosphere (Noone et al. 2013). The relative contribution of different pollutants from these pathways varies substantially between substances and also spatially and temporally (Bierman et al. 2011).Research on marine pollution is an important component of marine science, with the number of studies on this topic rapidly increasing through time (Figure 1a). Most of these studies have been conducted in shallow nearshore environments of sheltered estuaries and bays where human activities are concentrated (Halpern et al. 2008) whereas only very few studies have been conducted in open oceans and deep seas (Van Cauwenberghe et al. 2013, Cózar et al. 2014, Tournadre 2014. The research effort is not evenly distributed across the globe, with much of the published literature being produced in China, followed closely by the USA and various countries in Europe (Figure 1b). This reflects the substantial impacts of these nations on the marine environment (Halpern et al. 2019, Bhuyan et al. 2021 and their leading role in producing scientific outputs (Marginson 2021). Alarmingly, recent research on pollution in many developing regions such as Africa, Asia, and South America (Figure 1b), has demonstrated high levels of pharmaceuticals (Wilkinson et al. 2022). Hence, more research on marine pollution in these little-studied regions is necessary to gain a greater understanding of the spatial footprint of anthropogenic activities.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:nutrient enrichment, heavy metals, persistant organic pollutants, plastic debris, artificial structures, multiple pollutants, assessment and monitoring
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Strain, EMA (Dr Beth Strain)
UTAS Author:White, CA (Dr Camille White)
ID Code:150116
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2022-05-25
Last Modified:2022-12-01
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