Quantification of plastic ingestion by marine predators.
Posted by Mark Morales | , United States
Understanding the trophic linkages of marine organisms is a central quest of sustainable marine management in the wake of anthropogenic stressors. Of particular concern is the increasing availability of plastic particles incidentally ingested by marine predators. The accumulation of these indigestible particles can, and often does, result in mortality (see photo), thereby exacerbating the effects of other anthropogenic stressors (e.g. climate change). I feel it is essential to understand and estimate the total number and weight of plastic particles ingested by marine animals, on a global scale (i.e. pole-to-pole), in order to effectively understand an often-overlooked anthropogenic marine stressor and to appropriately mitigate this threat to the health our global ocean. The path to achieve this goal lies in a formal meta-analysis of available literature and diet sampling from underrepresented functional groups identified through the meta-analysis.