Increasing frequency of plastic particles ingested by seabirds in the subarctic North Pacific

Marine Pollution Bulletin
By: , and 

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Abstract

We examined gut contents of 1799 seabirds comprising 24 species collected in 1988-1990 to assess the types and quantities of plastic particles ingested by seabirds in the subarctic waters of Alaska. Of the 15 species found to ingest plastic, most were surface-feeders (shearwaters, petrels, gulls) or plankton-feeding divers (auklets, puffins). Of 4417 plastic particles examined, 76% were industrial pellets and 21% were fragments of ‘user’ plastic. Ingestion rates varied geographically, but no trends were evident and rates of plastic ingestion varied far more among species within areas than within species among areas. Comparison with similar data from 1968 seabirds comprising 37 species collected in 1969-1977 revealed that plastic ingestion by seabirds has increased significantly during the 10–15-year interval between studies. This was demonstrated by: (i) an increase in the total number of species ingesting plastic; (ii) an increase in the frequency of occurrence of plastic particles within species that ingested plastic; and, (iii) an increase in the mean number of plastic particles ingested by individuals of those species.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Increasing frequency of plastic particles ingested by seabirds in the subarctic North Pacific
Series title Marine Pollution Bulletin
DOI 10.1016/0025-326X(94)00121-O
Volume 30
Issue 2
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 151
Last page 157
Other Geospatial North Pacific
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