Marine Pollution Bulletin

In Press

Margy Gassel, Suhash Harwani, June-Soo Park, Andrew Jahn, Detection of nonylphenol and persistent organic pollutants in fish from the North Pacific Central Gyre, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 5 June 2013, ISSN 0025-326X,
Abstract: Despite scientific and public concern, research on food web contamination from chemicals in plastic is limited, and distinguishing plastic sources from prey remains a challenge. We analyzed juvenile yellowtail (Seriola lalandi) from the North Pacific Central Gyre for plastic ingestion and tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and nonionic surfactants to investigate potential contamination from plastic exposure. Ingestion of synthetic debris occurred in ∼10% of the sample population. PCBs and DDTs were 352 ± 240 (mean ± SD) and 1425 ± 1118 ng/g lw, respectively. PBDEs were 9.08 ± 10.6 ng/g lw, with BDEs-47, 99, and 209 representing 90% of PBDEs. Nonylphenol (NP) was detected in one-third of the yellowtail with a mean of 52.8 ± 88.5 ng/g ww overall and 167 ± 72.3 ng/g ww excluding non-detects. Because environmental NP is strongly associated with wastewater treatment effluents, long-range transport is unlikely, and NP was previously measured in gyre plastic, we concluded that plastic-mediated exposure best explained our findings of NP in yellowtail.
Keywords: North Pacific gyre; Nonylphenol; POPs; Plastic ingestion; Yellowtail (Seriola lalandi); Plastic exposure

K.M. Verlis, M.L. Campbell, S.P. Wilson, Ingestion of marine debris plastic by the wedge-tailed shearwater Ardenna pacifica in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 24 May 2013, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.03.017.
Abstract: We present the first evidence of ingestion of plastic by seabirds from the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Australia. The occurrence of marine debris ingestion in the wedge-tailed shearwater, Ardenna pacifica, on Heron Island was the focus of this preliminary research. Our findings indicate that 21% of surveyed chicks are fed plastic fragments by their parents, having ingested 3.2 fragments on average. The most common colours of ingested plastic fragments were off/white (37.5%) and green (31.3%). Ingested fragments had a mean size of 10.17 ± 4.55 mm and a mean weight of 0.056 ± 0.051 g. Our results indicate that further research is critical to understanding the extent of ingestion, colour preferences, and what impacts ingestion may have on these and other seabird populations in the GBR.
Keywords: Seabird; Plastic pollution; Bird health; Environmental impacts; UNESCO world heritage site; Chicks

S. Avery-Gomm, J.F. Provencher, K.H. Morgan, D.F. Bertram, Plastic ingestion in marine-associated bird species from the eastern North Pacific, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 16 May 2013, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.04.021.
Abstract: In addition to monitoring trends in plastic pollution, multi-species surveys are needed to fully understand the pervasiveness of plastic ingestion. We examined the stomach contents of 20 bird species collected from the coastal waters of the eastern North Pacific, a region known to have high levels of plastic pollution. We observed no evidence of plastic ingestion in Rhinoceros Auklet, Marbled Murrelet, Ancient Murrelet or Pigeon Guillemot, and low levels in Common Murre (2.7% incidence rate). Small sample sizes limit our ability to draw conclusions about population level trends for the remaining fifteen species, though evidence of plastic ingestion was found in Glaucous-Winged Gull and Sooty Shearwater. Documenting levels of plastic ingestion in a wide array of species is necessary to gain a comprehensive understanding about the impacts of plastic pollution. We propose that those working with bird carcasses follow standard protocols to assess the levels of plastic ingestion whenever possible.
Keywords: Plastic pollution; Plastic ingestion; North Pacific; Seabirds; Alcidae

Ta-Kang Liu, Meng-Wei Wang, Ping Chen, Influence of waste management policy on the characteristics of beach litter in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 11 May 2013, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.04.015.
Abstract: Marine debris is a ubiquitous problem that poses a serious threat to the global oceans; it has motivated public participation in clean-up campaigns, as well as governmental involvement in developing mitigation strategies. While it is known that the problem of marine litter may be affected by waste management practices on land, beach survey results have seldom been compared with them. In this study, marine litter surveys on four beaches of Cijin Island were conducted to explore the effects of waste management and policy implications. Indirect evidence shows that chances for land-based litter, such as plastic bags and bottles, entering the marine environment can be greatly decreased if they can be properly reduced, reused and recycled. We suggest that mitigation measures should focus on source reduction, waste recycling and management, utilizing effective economic instruments, and pursuing a long-term public education campaign to raise the public awareness of this problem.
Keywords: Transect survey; Economic instrument; Source reduction; Waste management

A.O. Debrot, H.W.G. Meesters, P.S. Bron, R. de León, Marine debris in mangroves and on the seabed: Largely-neglected litter problems, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 6 May 2013, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.03.023.

Volume 71, Issues 1–2, Pages 1-346 (15 June 2013)

C. Rosevelt, M. Los Huertos, C. Garza, H.M. Nevins, Marine debris in central California: Quantifying type and abundance of beach litter in Monterey Bay, CA, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 71, Issues 1–2, 15 June 2013, Pages 299-306, ISSN 0025-326X,
Abstract: Monitoring beach litter is essential for reducing ecological threats towards humans and wildlife. In Monterey Bay, CA information on seasonal and spatial patterns is understudied. Central California’s coastal managers require reliable information on debris abundance, distribution, and type, to support policy aimed at reducing litter. We developed a survey method that allowed for trained citizen scientists to quantify the types and abundance of beach litter. Sampling occurred from July 2009–June 2010. Litter abundance ranged from 0.03 to 17.1 items m−2. Using a mixed model approach, we found season and location have the greatest effect on litter abundance. Styrofoam, the most numerically abundant item, made up 41% of the total amount of litter. Unexpected items included fertilizer pellets. The results of this study provide a baseline on the types and abundance of litter on the central coast and have directly supported policy banning Styrofoam take out containers from local municipalities.
Keywords: Monterey Bay; Beach litter; Survey; Citizen-science; Mixed effects; AIC

M. Thiel, I.A. Hinojosa, L. Miranda, J.F. Pantoja, M.M. Rivadeneira, N. Vásquez, Anthropogenic marine debris in the coastal environment: A multi-year comparison between coastal waters and local shores, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 71, Issues 1–2, 15 June 2013, Pages 307-316, ISSN 0025-326X,
Abstract: Anthropogenic marine debris (AMD) is frequently studied on sandy beaches and occasionally in coastal waters, but links between these two environments have rarely been studied. High densities of AMD were found in coastal waters and on local shores of a large bay system in northern-central Chile. No seasonal pattern in AMD densities was found, but there was a trend of increasing densities over the entire study period. While plastics and Styrofoam were the most common types of AMD both on shores and in coastal waters, AMD composition differed slightly between the two environments. The results suggest that AMD from coastal waters are deposited on local shores, which over time accumulate all types of AMD. The types and the very low percentages of AMD with epibionts point to mostly local sources. Based on these results, it can be concluded that a reduction of AMD will require local solutions.
Keywords: Anthropogenic marine debris; Local shores; Coastal waters; Plastics; SE Pacific

Adolphe O. Debrot, Jimmy van Rijn, Patrick S. Bron, Ramon de León, A baseline assessment of beach debris and tar contamination in Bonaire, Southeastern Caribbean, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 71, Issues 1–2, 15 June 2013, Pages 325-329, ISSN 0025-326X,
Abstract: Data on beach debris and tar contamination is provided for 21 natural beach sites in Bonaire, Southeastern Caribbean. Transects amounting to a combined length of 991 m were sampled March–May 2011 and a total of 8960 debris items were collected. Highest debris and tar contamination were found on the beaches of the windward east-coast of the island where geometric mean debris concentrations (± approx. 70% confidence limits) were 115 ± 58 items m−1 and 3408 ± 1704 g m−1 of beach front. These levels are high compared to data collected almost 20 years earlier on the nearby island of Curaçao. Tar contamination levels averaged 223 g m−1 on windward beaches. Contamination levels for leeward west-coast beaches were generally two orders of magnitude less than windward beaches.
Keywords: Tropical; Caribbean; Marine; Beach; Debris; Pollution

Volume 70, Issues 1–2, Pages 1-302 (15 May 2013)

Alexander L. Bond, Jennifer L. Lavers, Effectiveness of emetics to study plastic ingestion by Leach’s Storm-petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa), Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 70, Issues 1–2, 15 May 2013, Pages 171-175, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.02.030.
Abstract: Most plastic ingestion studies rely on dissection of dead birds, which are found opportunistically, and may be biased. We used Leach’s Storm-petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) in Newfoundland to study the effect of dose volume, and the efficacy of emesis using syrup of ipecac as an emetic. Ipecac is a safe method of non-lethally sampling stomach contents, and recovered all ingested plastic. Almost half the storm-petrels sampled had ingested plastic, ranging from 0 to 17 pieces, and weighing 0.2–16.9 mg. Using the Ecological Quality Objective for Northern Fulmars, adjusted for storm-petrels smaller size, 43% exceeded the threshold of 0.0077 g of plastic. Many adult seabirds offload plastic to their offspring, so storm-petrel chicks likely experience a higher plastic burden than their parents. The ability to study plastic ingestion non-lethally allows researchers to move from opportunistic and haphazard sampling to hypothesis-driven studies on a wider range of taxa and age classes.
Keywords: Ipecac; Leach’s Storm-petrel; Oceanodroma leucorhoa; Plastic ingestion; Seabird

Mara Fisner, Satie Taniguchi, Fabiana Moreira, Márcia C. Bícego, Alexander Turra, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in plastic pellets: Variability in the concentration and composition at different sediment depths in a sandy beach, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 70, Issues 1–2, 15 May 2013, Pages 219-226, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.03.008.
Abstract: Plastic pellets have the ability to adsorb organic pollutants such as PAHs. This study analyzed the variability in the concentration and composition of PAHs on plastic pellets sampled up to 1 m deep in the sediment of a sandy beach. The toxic potential of PAHs was analyzed, and the possible sources of contamination are discussed. The total PAHs varied, with the highest concentrations in the surface layer; the priority PAHs showed a different pattern. PAHs at greater depths did not reach toxicity levels above the PEL. The composition of PAHs differed between pellets from the shallower and from deeper sediment layers, and was suggested a mixture of sources. These results provided the first information on the depth distribution of PAHs in sandy beaches, associated with plastic pellets; and evidenced the potential environmental risk. Similarly to the abundance of pellets, the toxic potential is underestimated in surface samples.
Keywords: Nibs; Plastic pellets; Plastic pollution; Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); Beach sediment

Michiel Claessens, Lisbeth Van Cauwenberghe, Michiel B. Vandegehuchte, Colin R. Janssen, New techniques for the detection of microplastics in sediments and field collected organisms, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 70, Issues 1–2, 15 May 2013, Pages 227-233, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.03.009.
Abstract: Microplastics have been reported in marine environments worldwide. Accurate assessment of quantity and type is therefore needed. Here, we propose new techniques for extracting microplastics from sediment and invertebrate tissue. The method developed for sediments involves a volume reduction of the sample by elutriation, followed by density separation using a high density NaI solution. Comparison of this methods’ efficiency to that of a widely used technique indicated that the new method has a considerably higher extraction efficiency. For fibres and granules an increase of 23% and 39% was noted, extraction efficiency of PVC increased by 100%. The second method aimed at extracting microplastics from animal tissues based on chemical digestion. Extraction of microspheres yielded high efficiencies (94–98%). For fibres, efficiencies were highly variable (0–98%), depending on polymer type. The use of these two techniques will result in a more complete assessment of marine microplastic concentrations.
Keywords: Microplastics; Extraction techniques; Sediments; Tissue; Mytilus edulis

Kaoruko Mizukawa, Hideshige Takada, Maki Ito, Yeo Bee Geok, Junki Hosoda, Rei Yamashita, Mahua Saha, Satoru Suzuki, Carlos Miguez, João Frias, Joana Cepeda Antunes, Paula Sobral, Isabelina Santos, Cristina Micaelo, Ana Maria Ferreira, Monitoring of a wide range of organic micropollutants on the Portuguese coast using plastic resin pellets, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 70, Issues 1–2, 15 May 2013, Pages 296-302, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.02.008.
Abstract: We analyzed polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethane and its metabolites, hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and hopanes, in plastic resin pellets collected from nine locations along the Portuguese coast. Concentrations of a sum of 13 PCBs were one order of magnitude higher in two major cities (Porto: 307 ng/g-pellet; Lisboa: 273 ng/g-pellet) than in the seven rural sites. Lower chlorinated congeners were more abundant in the rural sites than in the cities, suggesting atmospheric dispersion. At most of the locations, PAH concentrations (sum of 33 PAH species) were ∼100 to ∼300 ng/g-pellet; however, three orders of magnitude higher concentrations of PAHs, with a petrogenic signature, were detected at a small city (Sines). Hopanes were detected in the pellets at all locations. This study demonstrated that multiple sample locations, including locations in both urban and remote areas, are necessary for country-scale pellet watch.
Keywords: PCBs; DDTs; PAHs; Hopanes; Marine debris; Passive sampler

Volume 69, Issues 1–2, Pages 1-250 (15 April 2013)

Lesley A. Jantz, Carey L. Morishige, Gregory L. Bruland, Christopher A. Lepczyk, Ingestion of plastic marine debris by longnose lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox) in the North Pacific Ocean, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 69, Issues 1–2, 15 April 2013, Pages 97-104, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.01.019.
Abstract: Plastic marine debris affects species on most trophic levels, including pelagic fish. While plastic debris ingestion has been investigated in planktivorous fish in the North Pacific Ocean, little knowledge exists on piscivorous fish. The objectives of this study were to determine the frequency of occurrence and the composition of ingested plastic marine debris in longnose lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox), a piscivorous fish species captured in the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery. Nearly a quarter (47 of 192) of Aferoxsampled contained plastic marine debris, primarily in the form of plastic fragments (51.9%). No relationship existed between size (silhouette area) or amount of plastic marine debris ingested and morphometrics of A.ferox. Although Aferox are not consumed by humans, they are common prey for fish commercially harvested for human consumption. Further research is needed to determine residence time of ingested plastic marine debris and behavior of toxins associated with plastic debris.
Keywords: Hawaii-based longline fishery; Ingestion; Longnose lancetfish; Marine debris; Piscivorous fish; Plastic

Peter G. Ryan, A simple technique for counting marine debris at sea reveals steep litter gradients between the Straits of Malacca and the Bay of Bengal, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 69, Issues 1–2, 15 April 2013, Pages 128-136, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.01.016.
Abstract: A size and distance-based technique was used to assess the distribution, abundance and composition of floating marine debris in the northeast Indian Ocean. Densities of floating litter (>1 cm) were greater and more variable in the Straits of Malacca (578 ± 219 items km−2) than in oceanic waters of the Bay of Bengal (8.8 ± 1.4 items km−2). The density of debris in the Straits was correlated with terrestrial vegetation, and peaked close to urban centres, indicating the predominance of land-based sources. In the Bay of Bengal, debris density increased north of 17°N mainly due to small fragments probably carried in run-off from the Ganges Delta. The low densities in the Bay of Bengal relative to model predictions may result from biofouling-induced sinking and wind-driven export of debris items. Standardised data collection protocols are needed for counts of floating debris, particularly as regards the size classes used, to facilitate comparisons among studies.
Keywords: Marine debris; Survey; Detection range; Distance sampling; Plastic; Debris size

Renaud de Stephanis, Joan Giménez, Eva Carpinelli, Carlos Gutierrez-Exposito, Ana Cañadas, As main meal for sperm whales: Plastics debris, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 69, Issues 1–2, 15 April 2013, Pages 206-214, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.01.033.
Abstract: Marine debris has been found in marine animals since the early 20th century, but little is known about the impacts of the ingestion of debris in large marine mammals. In this study we describe a case of mortality of a sperm whale related to the ingestion of large amounts of marine debris in the Mediterranean Sea (4th published case worldwide to our knowledge), and discuss it within the context of the spatial distribution of the species and the presence of anthropogenic activities in the area that could be the source of the plastic debris found inside the sperm whale. The spatial distribution modelled for the species in the region shows that these animals can be seen in two distinct areas: near the waters of Almería, Granada and Murcia and in waters near the Strait of Gibraltar. The results shows how these animals feed in waters near an area completely flooded by the greenhouse industry, making them vulnerable to its waste products if adequate treatment of this industry’s debris is not in place. Most types of these plastic materials have been found in the individual examined and cause of death was presumed to be gastric rupture following impaction with debris, which added to a previous problem of starvation. The problem of plastics arising from greenhouse agriculture should have a relevant section in the conservation plans and should be a recommendation from ACCOBAMS due to these plastics’ and sperm whales’ high mobility in the Mediterranean Sea.
Keywords: Marine debris; Greenhouse; Plastics; Sperm whale; Spatial modelling; Mediterranean Sea

Kosuke Tanaka, Hideshige Takada, Rei Yamashita, Kaoruko Mizukawa, Masa-aki Fukuwaka, Yutaka Watanuki, Accumulation of plastic-derived chemicals in tissues of seabirds ingesting marine plastics, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 69, Issues 1–2, 15 April 2013, Pages 219-222, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.12.010.
Abstract: We analyzed polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in abdominal adipose of oceanic seabirds (short-tailed shearwaters, Puffinus tenuirostris) collected in northern North Pacific Ocean. In 3 of 12 birds, we detected higher-brominated congeners (viz., BDE209 and BDE183), which are not present in the natural prey (pelagic fish) of the birds. The same compounds were present in plastic found in the stomachs of the 3 birds. These data suggested the transfer of plastic-derived chemicals from ingested plastics to the tissues of marine-based organisms.
Keywords: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs); Plastic debris; Additives; North Pacific Ocean; Short-tailed shearwater; Bioaccumulation

Volume 68, Issues 1–2, Pages 1-168 (15 March 2013)

Marcus Eriksen, Nikolai Maximenko, Martin Thiel, Anna Cummins, Gwen Lattin, Stiv Wilson, Jan Hafner, Ann Zellers, Samuel Rifman, Plastic pollution in the South Pacific subtropical gyre, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 68, Issues 1–2, 15 March 2013, Pages 71-76, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.12.021.
Abstract: Plastic marine pollution in the open ocean of the southern hemisphere is largely undocumented. Here, we report the result of a (4489 km) 2424 nautical mile transect through the South Pacific subtropical gyre, carried out in March–April 2011. Neuston samples were collected at 48 sites, averaging 50 nautical miles apart, using a manta trawl lined with a 333 μm mesh. The transect bisected a predicted accumulation zone associated with the convergence of surface currents, driven by local winds. The results show an increase in surface abundance of plastic pollution as we neared the center and decrease as we moved away, verifying the presence of a garbage patch. The average abundance and mass was 26,898 particles km−2 and 70.96 g km−2, respectively. 88.8% of the plastic pollution was found in the middle third of the samples with the highest value of 396,342 particles km−2 occurring near the center of the predicted accumulation zone.
Keywords: Plastic marine pollution; South Pacific gyre; Ocean modeling; Microplastics

Volume 67, Issues 1–2, Pages 1-244 (15 February 2013)

A.L. Lusher, M. McHugh, R.C. Thompson, Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 67, Issues 1–2, 15 February 2013, Pages 94-99, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.11.028.
Abstract: Microplastics are present in marine habitats worldwide and laboratory studies show this material can be ingested, yet data on abundance in natural populations is limited. This study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel. 504 Fish were examined and plastics found in the gastrointestinal tracts of 36.5%. All five pelagic species and all five demersal species had ingested plastic. Of the 184 fish that had ingested plastic the average number of pieces per fish was 1.90 ± 0.10. A total of 351 pieces of plastic were identified using FT-IR Spectroscopy; polyamide (35.6%) and the semi-synthetic cellulosic material, rayon (57.8%) were most common. There was no significant difference between the abundance of plastic ingested by pelagic and demersal fish. Hence, microplastic ingestion appears to be common, in relatively small quantities, across a range of fish species irrespective of feeding habitat. Further work is needed to establish the potential consequences.
Keywords: Marine debris; Plastic; Feeding; FT-IR; Polymer

Elisa L. Bravo Rebolledo, Jan A. Van Franeker, Okka E. Jansen, Sophie M.J.M. Brasseur, Plastic ingestion by harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in The Netherlands, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 67, Issues 1–2, 15 February 2013, Pages 200-202, ISSN 0025-326X, 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.11.035.
Abstract: Abundance of ingested debris by seals has been mentioned as a potential indicator of marine litter in the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). A sample of 107 stomachs, 100 intestines and 125 scats of harbour seals from the Netherlands was analysed for the presence of plastics. Incidence of plastic was 11% for stomachs, 1% for intestines, and 0% for scats. Younger animals, up to 3 years of age, were most affected. This is the first quantitative study of plastic ingestion by phocid seals. The observed level of incidence is of environmental concern, but is low in the sense of suitability of seals for MSFD monitoring purposes.
Keywords: Phoca vitulina; Plastic ingestion; Marine debris; Monitoring; Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD); Good Environmental Status (GES)