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A quantitative analysis linking seabird mortality and marine debris ingestion

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Roman, L, Hardesty, BD, Hindell, MA ORCID: 0000-0002-7823-7185 and Wilcox, C 2019 , 'A quantitative analysis linking seabird mortality and marine debris ingestion' , Scientific Reports, vol. 9 , pp. 1-7 , doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36585-9.

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Abstract

Procellariiformes are the most threatened bird group globally, and the group with the highest frequency of marine debris ingestion. Marine debris ingestion is a globally recognized threat to marine biodiversity, yet the relationship between how much debris a bird ingests and mortality remains poorly understood. Using cause of death data from 1733 seabirds of 51 species, we demonstrate a significant relationship between ingested debris and a debris-ingestion cause of death (dose-response). There is a 20.4% chance of lifetime mortality from ingesting a single debris item, rising to 100% after consuming 93 items. Obstruction of the gastro-intestinal tract is the leading cause of death. Overall, balloons are the highest-risk debris item; 32 times more likely to result in death than ingesting hard plastic. These findings have significant implications for quantifying seabird mortality due to debris ingestion, and provide identifiable policy targets aimed to reduce mortality for threatened species worldwide.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Roman, L and Hardesty, BD and Hindell, MA and Wilcox, C
Keywords: seabirds, plastic, marine debris
Journal or Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41598-018-36585-9
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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