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Prevalence and characteristics of plastic ingested by Hawaiian seabirds

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Abstract

The prevalence of plastic in 18 species of seabirds at seven study sites in the Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Atoll was studied during 1986 and 1987. Stomach samples were collected by induced emesis from 1,803 live birds of 15 species and during necropsy of 277 dead birds of 5 species. The prevalence of ingested plastic varied greatly among species; age, year of collection, and location of the study site had less pronounced but significant effects. Ingested plastic was absent or uncommon in terns and noddies. Plastic was not found at all in samples from gray-backed terns, Sterna lunata, or white terns, Gygis alba. The prevalence was low in sooty terns, Sterna fuscata (0 to 8%), and brown, Anous stolidus, and black noddies, A. minutus (0 to 3%). Plastic was much more prevalent (67 to 100%) in chicks of black-footed, Diomedea nigripes, and Laysan albatrosses, D. immutabilis. In the 11 other species prevalence ranged from 0 to 44% depending on the age, year of collection, and location. The mean volume of plastic in samples collected at necropsy from Laysan albatross chicks was higher in 1986 (46 cc) than in 1987 (5 cc). Prevalence was generally higher in seabirds which fed at the surface. Fragments of manufactured articles were the most common type of plastic found. Other plastics included pellets, Styrofoam, bottle caps, bags, and sponges. The largest individual item (200 cc) and the greatest diversity of plastic items were found in albatross chicks.

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Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Prevalence and characteristics of plastic ingested by Hawaiian seabirds
Year Published 1990
Language English
Publisher U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 17 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Proceedings of the second international conference on marine debris
First page 665
Last page 681
Conference Title Second International Conference on Marine Debris
Conference Location Honolulu, HI
Conference Date April 2-7, 1989
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Johnson Atoll
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