post

Plastic in the Sea – Studies

Latest reports and news stories about plastic in the sea can be found here, (reports and statistics about other plastic related issues can be found here)

Thanks to Fabiano of www.globalgarbage.org for keeping us well informed.

Try schnews for the nasty nurdles

billions of tiny plastic pellets, called nurdles – the raw materials for the plastic industry – are lost or spilled every year, many ending up in the sea. These act like chemical sponges, soaking up other toxic man-made chemicals, all artificial pollutants (for toxicity think DDT pesticide etc), concentrating them up to a million times more than in normal sea water.

Chris Wilcox, Nicholas J. Mallos, George H. Leonard, Alba Rodriguez, Britta Denise Hardesty, Using expert elicitation to estimate the impacts of plastic pollution on marine wildlife, Marine Policy, Volume 65, March 2016, Pages 107-114, ISSN 0308-597X,http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2015.10.014.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X15002985)
Abstract: Marine litter is a growing environmental concern. With the rapid increase in global plastics production and the resulting large volume of litter that enters the marine environment, determining the consequences of this debris on marine fauna and ocean health has now become a critical environmental priority, particularly for threatened and endangered species. However, there are limited data about the impacts of debris on marine species from which to draw conclusions about the population consequences of anthropogenic debris. To address this knowledge gap, information was elicited from experts on the ecological threat (both severity and specificity) of entanglement, ingestion and chemical contamination for three major marine taxa: seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals. The threat assessment focused on the most common types of litter that are found along the world’s coastlines, based on data gathered during three decades of international coastal clean-up efforts. Fishing related gear, balloons and plastic bags were estimated to pose the greatest entanglement risk to marine fauna. In contrast, experts identified a broader suite of items of concern for ingestion, with plastic bags and plastic utensils ranked as the greatest threats. Entanglement and ingestion affected a similar range of taxa, although entanglement was rated as slightly worse because it is more likely to be lethal. Contamination was scored the lowest in terms of impact, affecting a smaller portion of the taxa and being rated as having solely non-lethal impacts. This work points towards a number of opportunities both for policy-based and consumer-driven changes in plastics use that could have demonstrable affects for a range of ecologically important taxa that serve as indicators of marine ecosystem health.
Keywords: Chemical contamination; Elicitation survey; Entanglement; Ingestion; Marine debris; Marine mammal; Plastic pollution; Seabird; Turtle

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X15002985/pdfft?md5=7c0e5ccdd43e09e0d0d1303741c421c1&pid=1-s2.0-S0308597X15002985-main.pdf

Jan Zalasiewicz, Colin N. Waters, Juliana Ivar do Sul, Patricia L. Corcoran, Anthony D. Barnosky, Alejandro Cearreta, Matt Edgeworth, Agnieszka Gałuszka, Catherine Jeandel, Reinhold Leinfelder, J.R. McNeill, Will Steffen, Colin Summerhayes, Michael Wagreich, Mark Williams, Alexander P. Wolfe, Yasmin Yonan, The geological cycle of plastics and their use as a stratigraphic indicator of the Anthropocene, Anthropocene, Available online 18 January 2016, ISSN 2213-3054, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2016.01.002.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213305416300029)
Abstract: The rise of plastics since the mid-20th century, both as a material element of modern life and as a growing environmental pollutant, has been widely described. Their distribution in both the terrestrial and marine realms suggests that they are a key geological indicator of the Anthropocene, as a distinctive stratal component. Most immediately evident in terrestrial deposits, they are clearly becoming widespread in marine sedimentary deposits in both shallow- and deep-water settings. They are abundant and widespread as macroscopic fragments and virtually ubiquitous as microplastic particles; these are dispersed by both physical and biological processes, not least via the food chain and the ‘faecal express’ route from surface to sea floor. Plastics are already widely dispersed in sedimentary deposits, and their amount seems likely to grow several-fold over the next few decades. They will continue to be input into the sedimentary cycle over coming millennia as temporary stores – landfill sites – are eroded. Plastics already enable fine time resolution within Anthropocene deposits via the development of their different types and via the artefacts (‘technofossils’) they are moulded into, and many of these may have long-term preservation potential when buried in strata.
Keywords: Anthropocene; Plastics; Stratigraphy

http://www.globalgarbage.org.br/mailinglist/S2213305416300029_In_Press_Accepted_Manuscript.pdf

Note to users:
Accepted manuscripts are Articles in Press that have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by the Editorial Board of this publication. They have not yet been copy edited and/or formatted in the publication house style, and may not yet have the full ScienceDirect functionality, e.g., supplementary files may still need to be added, links to references may not resolve yet etc. The text could still change before final publication.

Although accepted manuscripts do not have all bibliographic details available yet, they can already be cited using the year of online publication and the DOI, as follows: author(s), article title, Publication (year), DOI. Please consult the journal’s reference style for the exact appearance of these elements, abbreviation of journal names and use of punctuation.

When the final article is assigned to volumes/issues of the Publication, the Article in Press version will be removed and the final version will appear in the associated published volumes/issues of the Publication. The date the article was first made available online will be carried over.

Jongmyoung Lee, Sunwook Hong, Young Kyung Song, Sang Hee Hong, Yong

Chang Jang, Mi Jang, Nak Won Heo, Gi Myung Han, Mi Jeong Lee, Daeseok
Kang, Won Joon Shim, Relationships among the abundances of plastic
debris in different size classes on beaches in South Korea, Marine
Pollution Bulletin, Volume 77, Issues 1–2, 15 December 2013, Pages
349-354, ISSN 0025-326X, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.08.013.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X13004657)
Abstract: Plastic debris on six beaches near the Nakdong River Estuary, South Korea, was sampled in May and September 2012 and classified into three size classes, large microplastics (1–5 mm), mesoplastics (5–25mm), and macroplastics (>25 mm). The relationships among the abundances of the size classes were then examined. The abundances of each size category in May (before rainy season) and in September (after rainy season) were 8205 and 27,606 particles/m2 for large microplastics, 238 and 237 particles/m2 for mesoplastics, and 0.97 and 1.03 particles/m2 for macroplastics, respectively. Styrofoam was the most abundant item both in microplastic and mesoplastic debris, while intact plastics were most common in macroplastic debris. The abundances of meso- and micro-plastics were the most strongly correlated. There was a higher correlation between the abundances of macro- and meso-plastics than between macro- and micro-plastics.

 

Rui P. Vieira, Isabel P. Raposo, Paula Sobral, Jorge M.S. Gonçalves, Katherine L.C. Bell, Marina R. Cunha, Lost fishing gear and litter at Gorringe Bank (NE Atlantic), Journal of Sea Research, Available online 13 October 2014, ISSN 1385-1101, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2014.10.005.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1385110114001774)
Abstract: Studies concerning marine litter have received great attention over the last several years by the scientific community mainly due to their ecological and economic impacts in marine ecosystems, from coastal waters to the deep ocean seafloor. The distribution, type and abundance of marine litter in Ormonde and Gettysburg, the two seamounts of Gorringe Bank, were analyzed from photo and video imagery obtained during ROV-based surveys carried out at 60–3015 m depths during the E/V Nautilus cruise NA017. Located approximately 125 nm southwest of Portugal, Gorringe Bank lays at the crossroad between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and is therefore characterized by an intense maritime traffic and fishing activities. The high frequency of lost or discarded fishing gear, such as cables, longlines and nets, observed on Gorringe Bank suggests an origin mostly from fishing activities, with a clear turnover in the type of litter (mostly metal, glass and to a much lesser extent, plastic) with increasing depth. Litter was more abundant at the summit of Gorringe Bank (ca. 4 items·km− 1), decreasing to less than 1 item·km− 1 at the flanks and to ca. 2 items·km− 1 at greater depths. Nevertheless, litter abundance appeared to be lower than in continental margin areas. The results presented herein are a contribution to support further actions for the conservation of vulnerable habitats on Gorringe Bank so that they can continue contributing to fishery productivity in the surrounding region.
Keywords: Marine Litter; Fisheries; Impacts; Gorringe Bank; NE Atlantic; Seamounts

Note to users: Corrected proofs are Articles in Press that contain the authors’ corrections. Final citation details, e.g., volume and/or issue number, publication year and page numbers, still need to be added and the text might change before final publication.

Although corrected proofs do not have all bibliographic details available yet, they can already be cited using the year of online publication and the DOI , as follows: author(s), article title, Publication (year), DOI. Please consult the journal’s reference style for the exact appearance of these elements, abbreviation of journal names and use of punctuation.

When the final article is assigned to an volumes/issues of the Publication, the Article in Press version will be removed and the final version will appear in the associated published volumes/issues of the Publication. The date the article was first made available online will be carried over.

http://www.ivm.vu.nl/en/Images/Plastic%20ingredients%20in%20Cosmetics%2007-2014%20FINAL_tcm53-409859.pdf

Review of Microplastics in Cosmetics
Scientific background on a potential source of plastic particulate marine litter to support decision-making
H.A. Leslie, PhD

http://www.americanchemistry.com/Media/PressReleasesTranscripts/ACC-news-releases/Global-Plastics-Meeting.html

World’s Plastics Associations Promote Sustainability and Resource Recovery, and Renew Commitments to Marine Litter Solutions

ACC Contact: Jennifer Killinger (202) 249-6619
E-mail: jennifer_killinger@americanchemistry.com

PlasticsEurope Contact: Hanane Taidi, 32 2 676 17 40
E-mail: hanane.taidi@plasticseurope.org

PPIA Contact: Peter T. Quintana
E-Mail: secretariat.ppia@gmail.com

“World’s Plastics Associations Renew Commitments to Improve Sustainability”

Manila (December 12, 2014) – At the 25th annual Global Meeting on Plastics and Sustainability, held in Manila, Philippines (Dec. 8 – 10), executives from the world’s leading plastics associations met to discuss and advance sustainability, and to promote solutions to plastic waste management and marine debris. At the meeting, delegates noted strong progress and growth in activities undertaken as part of the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter. Under that program, 60 associations from more than 30 countries have launched 185 separate projects to combat plastic marine debris.

At the meeting, participants also discussed strategies to address sustainability by improving the collection, recycling and recovery of energy from used plastics. Delegates heard from Doug Woodring of the NGO Ocean Recovery Alliance, who challenged the industry to work with other stakeholders and to deploy new technologies to better understand where litter is entering our rivers and waterways.

In addition to leading Philippine companies, meeting participants included plastics associations from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Brazil, the Gulf, Europe, South Africa, and the United States, who analyzed current projects to prevent litter and increase recycling of plastic.

http://www.earthcarers.org.au/blog/article/plasticfree-summer-festival-1617-jan-2015/127/

Plastic-Free Summer Festival (16&17 Jan 2015)

Friday 12th of December 2014

Did you know over five trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans according to the most comprehensive study to date on plastic pollution around the world? It’s not just a problem overseas but also around Australia’s coastlines, and the sources are alarming.

Marine biologist Dr Jennifer Lavers has studied seabirds around the world, in particular looking at the impact of ingesting this plastic. As seen on the ABC Catalyst program Dr Lavers is a lead scientist looking at the impacts plastic pollution is having on wildlife in our oceans. Find out more about the problem, discuss solutions and be part of the change needed.

Organised by the WMRC Earth Carers, the City of Fremantle, Fremantle BID and the Town of Cottesloe this free 2 day community festival offers events for all ages.

http://www.marlisco.eu/news-detail.en/items/marlisco-e-course-about-marine-litter-second-edition.html

MARLISCO e-course about Marine Litter – second edition

2014-12-11 20:21
The second edition of the MARLISCO electronic course about marine litter, “Know, feel, act! to stop Marine Litter”, has been launched. It will run from the 09/01/2015 to the 20/01/2015.
The course is based on the educational material “Know, feel, act! to stop Marine Litter”, a MARLISCO product to be translated and applied in 15 countries by 2015. It contains 17 educational activities examining the characteristics, sources, effects and possible ways to tackle the problem, addressing it from an environmental, societal, cultural and economic point of view. It has been designed to primarily serve middle school level, but can be used also by educators outside the formal schooling system. The e-course serves as a substitute for a 1.5 day face-to-face seminar aiming to train participants on effective ways of teaching about marine litter issues.

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s4147069.htm

Scientists warn nearly 270,000 tonnes of plastic may be floating in world’s oceans

Stephanie Smail reported this story on Thursday, December 11, 2014 18:36:00

MARK COLVIN: It’s floating on the surface, bobbing just under the waves, strangling seabirds and killing fish. It’s plastic in the ocean, and a new study says there’s nearly 270,000 tonnes of it.

International scientists have counted and weighed tiny pieces of plastic, and bigger pieces like plastic bottles and six-pack holders, for the past six years.

Their research has found plastic pollution isn’t just a problem in the well-known garbage patches in remote areas. It’s also lurking close to coastlines, as Stephanie Smail reports.

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/news/audio/pm/201412/20141211-pm07-plasticsea.mp3

http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2014/12/11/4146817.htm

No part of the ocean untouched by plastic rubbish

BY CHRISTOPHER DOYLE

ABC Environment 11 DEC 2014

A new study has found that plastic rubbish reaches into almost every corner of the ocean.

VIRTUALLY NO PART of the ocean surface remains untouched by plastic debris, a team of international scientists has found.

Nearly 269,000 tonnes of plastic debris is floating on the surface of the world’s oceans, with some of it occurring in some of the most remote regions of the planet, the scientists report today in the open-access journal PLoS One.

“There are areas of the ocean that have very little plastic, but I don’t think you will find plastic-free seas anywhere in the world today,” said Dr Marcus Eriksen, lead author of the study and Director of Research for the 5 Gyres Institute.

http://www.americanchemistry.com/Media/PressReleasesTranscripts/ACC-news-releases/Americas-Plastics-Makers-Support-Calls-to-Address-Litter-in-Worlds-Oceans.html

America’s Plastics Makers Support Calls to Address Litter in World’s Oceans

Contact: Jennifer Killinger (202) 249-6619
Email: jennifer_killinger@americanchemistry.com

WASHINGTON (December 10, 2014) – The Five Gyres Institute today released a study that estimates the quantities of plastics in the world’s oceans (“Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea”).

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement:

“America’s plastics makers wholeheartedly agree that littered plastics of any kind do not belong in the marine environment. Every day, plastics contribute to sustainability by enabling us to reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover more of the resources that we rely on—and by helping to lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Even after plastics have fulfilled their initial purpose, these materials should be treated as valuable resources and recycled whenever possible or recovered for their energy value when they cannot.

“Recent multi-stakeholder efforts to develop solutions for marine litter—including a brochure (2014) produced by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP, an advisory group to the United Nations) and the Honolulu Strategy (2011)—have highlighted the importance of using modern, integrated waste management infrastructure and practices to combat marine litter throughout the globe. This includes recycling and energy recovery, and the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division and its member companies support these recommendations.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/10/good-job-humans-the-ocean-now-contains-5-trillion-pieces-of-floating-plastic/

Good job, humans: The oceans now contain 5 trillion pieces of floating plastic

By Chris Mooney December 10

A major new study of the world’s oceans has reached a shocking conclusion: Thanks to humans, there are now over 5 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 250,000 tons, floating in water around the world.

With a global population of about 7.2 billion, that’s nearly 700 pieces per person.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One by Marcus Eriksen of the Five Gyres Institute in Los Angeles and a large group of colleagues, is based on data from 24 separate ocean expeditions, conducted between 2007 and 2013, to sample plastic pollution. Plastic was either observed from boats, or hauled up from the ocean by nets, in 1,571 locations. The data were then used to run an ocean model to simulate the amount and distribution of plastic debris.

The result not only yielded the estimate of over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the global ocean — it also cast light on how plastic changes within the ocean (breaking down into smaller pieces) and circulates around the globe. Pieces between 1 millimeter and 4.75 millimeters in size were by far the most prevalent class of plastic in the ocean. However, by weight, really large pieces of plastic, greater than 200 millimeters in size, were the most significant.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/science/new-research-quantifies-the-oceans-plastic-problem.html

Study Gauges Plastic Levels in Oceans

By JOHN SCHWARTZ DEC. 10, 2014

It is no secret that the world’s oceans are swimming with plastic debris — the first floating masses of trash were discovered in the 1990s. But researchers are starting to get a better sense of the size and scope of the problem.

A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One estimated that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, large and small, weighing 269,000 tons, could be found throughout the world’s oceans, even in the most remote reaches.

The ships conducting the research traveled the seas collecting small bits of plastic with nets and estimated worldwide figures from their samples using computer models. The largest source of plastic by weight comes from discarded fishing nets and buoys, said Marcus Eriksen, the leader of the effort and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, a nonprofit group that combines scientific research with antipollution activism.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/10/full-scale-plastic-worlds-oceans-revealed-first-time-pollution

Full scale of plastic in the world’s oceans revealed for first time

Over five trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans says most comprehensive study to date on plastic pollution around the world

Oliver Milman
Wednesday 10 December 2014 19.00 GMT

More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world’s oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found.

Data collected by scientists from the US, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand suggests a minimum of 5.25tn plastic particles in the oceans, most of them “micro plastics” measuring less than 5mm.

The volume of plastic pieces, largely deriving from products such as food and drink packaging and clothing, was calculated from data taken from 24 expeditions over a six-year period to 2013. The research, published in the journal PLOS One, is the first study to look at plastics of all sizes in the world’s oceans.

Large pieces of plastic can strangle animals such as seals, while smaller pieces are ingested by fish and then fed up the food chain, all the way to humans.

http://time.com/3628392/microbead-ban-states/

Environmentalists Go to Battle Over Face Wash

Katy Steinmetz @katysteinmetz
Dec. 10, 2014

Environmentalists are hoping a landmark report about how much plastic is in the world’s oceans will help get bans on small plastics passed

Face washes claiming to be “blackhead erasers” or “superfruit scrubs” may seem appealing for scrubbing your way to a fresh new face, but some of them also contain an ingredient that environmental advocates and lawmakers are trying to ban. Tiny, round bits of plastic known as microbeads, no bigger than a grain of couscous, may pose hazards in the natural world.

These little orbs, introduced to replace harsher exfoliants like pumice, are so small that after they’re washed down the sink or tub, they sneak through sifters at water treatment plants and end up in the ocean and other bodies of water. Once in the ocean, researchers have found, these plastics act like sponges for toxins, and can be accidentally ingested by fish, thus ending up in the food chain.

Several states considered bills to ban microbeads last session, but only Illinois passed a law, becoming the first state to do so. Now lawmakers in at least three states are gearing up for another go in 2015.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-28/autopsy-finds-plastic-bag-in-dolphin-stomach/5926650

Autopsy finds plastic bag in dolphin’s stomach after failed rescue

By Nonee Walsh
Posted 28 Nov 2014, 7:34am

A dolphin rescued off Sydney’s northern beaches earlier this week has been euthanased after becoming stranded for a second time.

It took six men to refloat the three-metre Risso’s dolphin after they found it in trouble on Curl Curl Beach on Monday.

The mature female dolphin went back out to sea but became stranded again at Kurnell, in Sydney’s south, on Tuesday evening.

An autopsy performed at Taronga Zoo revealed a plastic bag was blocking its stomach, Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) president Ronnie Ling said.

 

post

Fulmers full of plastic…

Commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, IMARES has published its new monitoring report on quantities of plastics in stomachs of Northern Fulmars found on Dutch beaches up to year 2013.

Currently, 94% of investigated stomachs of Dutch Fulmars contained one or more plastic particles, and about 52% contained more than the critical level of 0.1 gram plastic. North Sea governments have set a policy target where this percentage is reduced to below 10%.

Dear all    /   beste allemaal

We have recently published a new IMARES-report, updating our time series of Fulmar plastic ingestion monitoring in the Netherlands. The link to a full download of the report (and a range of other issues) can be found at the familiar dossier site www.wageningenur.nl/plastics-fulmars .  We hope this will stimulate the continued support from all those people surveying beaches and other co-workers! Without such help, this sort of study would be impossible, so thank you all very much!

 

With thanks to Fabiano of Global Garbage

 

 

post

Plastic in Plankton

Images of microplastic ingestion by plankton. From Cole, Matthew, et al. “Microplastic ingestion by zooplankton.” Environmental science & technology (2013).

plastic plankton

 

Laboratory studies that have shown ingestion in marine species.

Zooplankton: Cole et al. 2013
Invertebrates: Thompson et al. 2004; Besseling et al. 2013

 

 

And here it is on film

post

Marine debris ingestion by coastal dolphins:

What drives differences between sympatric species?,

This study compared marine debris ingestion of the coastal dolphins Pontoporia blainvillei and Sotalia guianensis in a sympatric area in Atlantic Ocean.

Among the 89 stomach contents samples of P. blainvillei, 14 (15.7%) contained marine debris. For S. guianensis, 77 stomach contents samples were analyzed and only one of which (1.30%) contained marine debris.

The debris recovered was plastic material: nylon yarns and flexible plastics. Differences in feeding habits between the coastal dolphins were found to drive their differences regarding marine debris ingestion. The feeding activity of P. blainvillei is mainly near the sea bottom, which increases its chances of ingesting debris deposited on the seabed. In contrast, S. guianensis has a near-surface feeding habit.

In the study area, the seabed is the main zone of accumulation of debris, and species with some degree of association with the sea bottom may be local bioindicators of marine debris pollution.

Ana Paula Madeira Di Beneditto, Renata Maria Arruda Ramos,

(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X14002008)

 

post

Endocrine disruption, fish & polyethylene

Early warning signs of endocrine disruption in adult fish from the ingestion of polyethylene with and without sorbed chemical pollutants from the marine environment,

Abstract: Plastic debris is associated with several chemical pollutants known to disrupt the functioning of the endocrine system. To determine if the exposure to plastic debris and associated chemicals promotes endocrine-disrupting effects in fish, we conducted a chronic two-month dietary exposure using Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) and environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic (< 1 mm) and associated chemicals. We exposed fish to three treatments: a no-plastic (i.e. negative control), virgin-plastic (i.e. virgin polyethylene pre-production pellets) and marine-plastic treatment (i.e. polyethylene pellets deployed in San Diego Bay, CA for 3 months). Altered gene expression was observed in male fish exposed to the marine-plastic treatment, whereas altered gene expression was observed in female fish exposed to both the marine- and virgin-plastic treatment. Significant down-regulation of choriogenin (Chg H) gene expression was observed in males and significant down-regulation of vitellogenin (Vtg I), Chg H and the estrogen receptor (ERα) gene expression was observed in females. In addition, histological observation revealed abnormal proliferation of germ cells in one male fish from the marine-plastic treatment. Overall, our study suggests that the ingestion of plastic debris at environmentally relevant concentrations may alter endocrine system function in adult fish and warrants further research.

Keywords: Plastic debris; Endocrine disruption; Japanese medaka; Germ
cells; Gene expression

Chelsea M. Rochman, Tomofumi Kurobe, Ida Flores, Swee J. Teh,

September 2014, Pages 656-661, ISSN 0048-9697,
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.051.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969714009073)

post

Organisms piggyback on plastic islands

Miriam C. Goldstein, Henry S. Carson, Marcus Eriksen
Relationship of diversity and habitat area in North Pacific
plastic-associated rafting communities
Marine Biology
April 2014
DOI 10.1007/s00227-014-2432-8

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00227-014-2432-8

Abstract
Plastic and other anthropogenic debris (e.g., rubber, tar) augment natural floating substrates (e.g., algal rafts, pumice) in the open ocean, allowing “islands” of substrate-associated organisms to persist in an otherwise unsuitable habitat.

We examined a total of 242 debris objects collected in the eastern Pacific in 2009 and 2011 (32–39°N, 130–142°W) and the western Pacific in 2012 (19–41°N, 143–156°E).

Here, we ask: (a) What taxa are associated with plastic rafts in the North
Pacific? and (b) Does the number of taxa associated with plastic debris vary with the size of the debris “island?”

We documented 95 rafting taxa from 11 phyla.

We identified several potentially invasive plastic-associated rafting taxa, including the coral pathogen Halofolliculina spp. In concordance with classic species–area curves,  the number of rafting taxa was positively correlated with the size of the raft. Our findings suggest that diversity patterns on plastic debris are compatible with the concept of island biogeography.

227_2014_2432_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (304KB)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 304 kb)
http://link.springer.com/content/esm/art:10.1007/s00227-014-2432-8/file/MediaObjects/227_2014_2432_MOESM1_ESM.pdf

227_2014_2432_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (69KB)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 69 kb)
http://link.springer.com/content/esm/art:10.1007/s00227-014-2432-8/file/MediaObjects/227_2014_2432_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx

post

Beach Clean Up September

The MSCUK organise other projects to help combat plastic pollution including The Great British Beach Clean on the 16th – 19th September 2016.

Plenty of advance warning. Check out the details here.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) urgently needs volunteers to take part in the UK’s biggest beach clean and litter survey which takes place in September.

The MCS surveys show a 75% increase in the amount of beach litter since the first Beachwatch in 1994, with plastic waste increasing by a massive 121%. In 2009 alone, over 12,000 cotton bud sticks were found on UK beaches, along with 16,000 drinks bottles, 20,000 lids and 17,000 items of fishing litter.

The MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend provides a simple and effective way in which everyone can help tackle the relentless wave of rubbish washing onto our beaches and at sea. “Volunteers never cease to be amazed at the amount of the litter they find on their beaches.

post

Microplastic in the sea. Studies.

From the BBC News

Dr Richard Thompson at the University of Plymouth researches what happens when plastic breaks down (degrades) in seawater

They have identified plastic particles of around 20 microns – thinner than the diameter of a human hair.
In 2004 their study reported the incidence of the particles had been increasing over the years.

They have found plastic particles smaller than grains of sand.

They estimate there are 300,000 items of plastic per sq km of sea surface, and 100,000 per sq km of seabed.

Thompson and his team conducted experiments on three species of filter feeders and found that the barnacle, the lugworm and the common amphipod or sand-hopper all  readily ingested plastic as they fed along the seabed.

They wanted to  establish if chemicals can leach out of degraded plastic and if plastic absorbs other contaminants such as PCBs and other polymer additives.

“The plastics industry’s response is that much of the research is speculative at this stage, and that there is very little evidence that this transfer of chemicals is taking place in the wild.It says it is doing its bit by replacing toxic materials used as stabilisers and flame retardants with less harmful substances.
Whatever the findings eventually show, there is little that can be done now to deal with the vast quantities of plastic already in our oceans. It will be there for decades to come.”

You can read more about the problems of micro plastic pollution here.

More Science

And if you want more data on the problem here are just a few of the hundreds of studies being done. Thanks to Fabiano of www.globalgarbage.org for keeping us well informed.

Jan Zalasiewicz, Colin N. Waters, Juliana Ivar do Sul, Patricia L. Corcoran, Anthony D. Barnosky, Alejandro Cearreta, Matt Edgeworth, Agnieszka Gałuszka, Catherine Jeandel, Reinhold Leinfelder, J.R. McNeill, Will Steffen, Colin Summerhayes, Michael Wagreich, Mark Williams, Alexander P. Wolfe, Yasmin Yonan, The geological cycle of plastics and their use as a stratigraphic indicator of the Anthropocene, Anthropocene, Available online 18 January 2016, ISSN 2213-3054, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2016.01.002.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213305416300029)
Abstract: The rise of plastics since the mid-20th century, both as a material element of modern life and as a growing environmental pollutant, has been widely described. Their distribution in both the terrestrial and marine realms suggests that they are a key geological indicator of the Anthropocene, as a distinctive stratal component. Most immediately evident in terrestrial deposits, they are clearly becoming widespread in marine sedimentary deposits in both shallow- and deep-water settings. They are abundant and widespread as macroscopic fragments and virtually ubiquitous as microplastic particles; these are dispersed by both physical and biological processes, not least via the food chain and the ‘faecal express’ route from surface to sea floor. Plastics are already widely dispersed in sedimentary deposits, and their amount seems likely to grow several-fold over the next few decades. They will continue to be input into the sedimentary cycle over coming millennia as temporary stores – landfill sites – are eroded. Plastics already enable fine time resolution within Anthropocene deposits via the development of their different types and via the artefacts (‘technofossils’) they are moulded into, and many of these may have long-term preservation potential when buried in strata.
Keywords: Anthropocene; Plastics; Stratigraphy

http://www.globalgarbage.org.br/mailinglist/S2213305416300029_In_Press_Accepted_Manuscript.pdf

Carme Alomar, Fernando Estarellas, Salud Deudero, Microplastics in the Mediterranean sea: Deposition in coastal shallow sediments, spatial variation and preferential grain size, Marine Environmental Research, Available online 18 January 2016, ISSN 0141-1136,http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marenvres.2016.01.005.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141113616300058)
Abstract: Marine litter loads in sea compartments are an emergent issue due to their ecological and biological consequences. This study addresses microplastic quantification and morphological description to test spatial differences along an anthropogenic gradient of coastal shallow sediments and further on to evaluate the preferential deposition of microplastics in a given sediment grain fraction. Sediments from Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) contained the highest concentrations of microplastics (MPs): up to 0.90±0.10 MPs/g suggesting the transfer of microplastics from source areas to endpoint areas. In addition, a high proportion of microplastic filaments were found close to populated areas whereas fragment type microplastics were more common in MPAs. There was no clear trend between sediment grain size and microplastic deposition in sediments, although microplastics were always present in two grain size fractions: 2mm>x>1mm and 1mm>x 0.5mm.
Keywords: Marine litter; MPAs; Anthropogenic gradient; Sieve fractions; Contamination; Balearic islands

http://www.globalgarbage.org.br/mailinglist/S0141113616300058_In_Press_Accepted_Manuscript.pdf

Teresa Rocha-Santos, Armando C. Duarte, A critical overview of the analytical approaches to the occurrence, the fate and the behavior of microplastics in the environment, TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Available online 11 December 2014, ISSN 0165-9936,http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trac.2014.10.011.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165993614002556)
Abstract: Plastics can be found in food packaging, shopping bags, and household items, such as toothbrushes and pens, and facial cleansers. Due to the high disposability and low recovery of discharged materials, plastics materials have become debris accumulating in the environment. Microplastics have a dimension <5 mm and possess physico-chemical properties (e.g., size, density, color and chemical composition) that are key contributors to their bioavailability to organisms. This review addresses the analytical approaches to characterization and quantification of microplastics in the environment and discusses recent studies on their occurrence, fate, and behavior. This critical overview includes a general assessment of sampling and sample handling, and compares methods for morphological and physical classification, and methodologies for chemical characterization and quantification of the microplastics. Finally, this review addresses the advantages and the disadvantages of these techniques, and comments on future applications and potential research interest within this field.
Keywords: Debris; Detection; Environment; Marine environment; Microplastic; Plastic; Sampling; Seawater; Sediment; Water

Note to users: Accepted manuscripts are Articles in Press that have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by the Editorial Board of this publication. They have not yet been copy edited and/or formatted in the publication house style, and may not yet have the full ScienceDirect functionality, e.g., supplementary files may still need to be added, links to references may not resolve yet etc. The text could still change before final publication.

Although accepted manuscripts do not have all bibliographic details available yet, they can already be cited using the year of online publication and the DOI, as follows: author(s), article title, Publication (year), DOI. Please consult the journal’s reference style for the exact appearance of these elements, abbreviation of journal names and use of punctuation.

When the final article is assigned to an volumes/issues of the Publication, the Article in Press version will be removed and the final version will appear in the associated published volumes/issues of the Publication. The date the article was first made available online will be carried over.

http://www.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fmars.2014.00070/full

Reisser J, Proietti M, Shaw J and Pattiaratchi C (2014) Ingestion of plastics at sea: does debris size really matter? Front. Mar. Sci. 1:70. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2014.00070

Keywords: microplastics, marine debris, plastic ingestion, zooplankton grazing, copepods

http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fmars.2014.00070/pdf

http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/11/16207/2014/bgd-11-16207-2014.html

Reisser, J., Slat, B., Noble, K., du Plessis, K., Epp, M., Proietti, M., de Sonneville, J., Becker, T., and Pattiaratchi, C.: The vertical distribution of buoyant plastics at sea, Biogeosciences Discuss., 11, 16207-16226, doi:10.5194/bgd-11-16207-2014, 2014.

Abstract. Millimeter-sized plastics are numerically abundant and widespread across the world’s ocean surface. These buoyant macroscopic particles can be mixed within the upper water column due to turbulent transport. Models indicate that the largest decrease in their concentration occurs within the first few meters of water, where subsurface observations are very scarce. By using a new type of multi-level trawl at 12 sites within the North Atlantic accumulation zone, we measured concentrations and physical properties of plastics from the air–seawater interface to a depth of 5 m, at 0.5 m intervals. Our results show that plastic concentrations drop exponentially with water depth, but decay rates decrease with increasing Beaufort scale. Furthermore, smaller pieces presented lower rise velocities and were more susceptible to vertical transport. This resulted in higher depth decays of plastic mass concentration (mg m−3) than numerical concentration (pieces m−3). Further multi-level sampling of plastics will improve our ability to predict at-sea plastic load, size distribution, drifting pattern, and impact on marine species and habitats.

Review Status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/11/16207/2014/bgd-11-16207-2014.pdf

 

 

 

post

Trash Vortex / 5 Gyres

Dotted around the world are  5 great trash vortexes. They are right out there in the middle of the sea and they are huge.  A “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, is how scientists have described one such.

This drifting “soup” stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

And it now appears that there are 4 more.

They are called trash Votrexes or the 5 gyres.

What happens is swirling currents collect up all the ocean debris and mix it into a big rubbish soup in the centre of the ocean. In the old days this rubbish was biodegradable so would rot.

Not any more.

These days its plastic which does not rot.

Result a vast expanse of debris – in effect the world’s largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents.

Is how the Independant newspaper describes it.

Though Greenpeace have been worried for a while

Why are there no photos? Oysters garter has the best answer

Dont fancy reading? Watch one of these scary videos of what lurks beneath the waves

For educational dvds go to http://www.algalita.org/videos-research.html

other articles to read on the subject are Naked man in the tree