Microplastics are increasingly pervasive pollutants, particularly abundant in the neuston where they drift with currents. We assessed dietary microplastic ingestion in the Mediterranean storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis), a small pelagic seabird that forages on plankton and inhabit the Mediterranean sea, one of the most polluted seas worldwide. We collected spontaneous regurgitates from 30 chick-rearing individuals and used GPS tracking data from 7 additional individuals to locate foraging areas. Birds foraged in pelagic areas characterized by water stirring and mixing, and regurgitates from 14 individuals (i.e. 45 %) contained microplastics. Fibers were the dominant shape (56 %), with polyester, polyethylene and nylon being the most frequent polymers. Our findings highlight the potential sensitivity of this species of conservation interest to plastic pollution and suggest that storm petrel regurgitates can be a valuable matrix to investigate microplastic ingestion in planktonic for-agers, providing a characterization of spatio-temporal patterns of microplastic exposure in pelagic environments.

The hidden cost of following currents: Microplastic ingestion in a planktivorous seabird / F. De Pascalis, B. De Felice, M. Parolini, D. Pisu, D. Pala, D. Antonioli, E. Perin, V. Gianotti, L. Ilahiane, G. Masoero, L. Serra, D. Rubolini, J.G. Cecere. - In: MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN. - ISSN 0025-326X. - 182:(2022 Sep), pp. 114030.1-114030.6. [10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.114030]

The hidden cost of following currents: Microplastic ingestion in a planktivorous seabird

F. De Pascalis
Primo
;
B. De Felice;M. Parolini;L. Ilahiane;D. Rubolini
Penultimo
;
2022

Abstract

Microplastics are increasingly pervasive pollutants, particularly abundant in the neuston where they drift with currents. We assessed dietary microplastic ingestion in the Mediterranean storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis), a small pelagic seabird that forages on plankton and inhabit the Mediterranean sea, one of the most polluted seas worldwide. We collected spontaneous regurgitates from 30 chick-rearing individuals and used GPS tracking data from 7 additional individuals to locate foraging areas. Birds foraged in pelagic areas characterized by water stirring and mixing, and regurgitates from 14 individuals (i.e. 45 %) contained microplastics. Fibers were the dominant shape (56 %), with polyester, polyethylene and nylon being the most frequent polymers. Our findings highlight the potential sensitivity of this species of conservation interest to plastic pollution and suggest that storm petrel regurgitates can be a valuable matrix to investigate microplastic ingestion in planktonic for-agers, providing a characterization of spatio-temporal patterns of microplastic exposure in pelagic environments.
Hydrobates pelagicus; Mediterranean Sea; Plastic pollution; Storm petrel
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
set-2022
11-ago-2022
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/957879
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