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Size of marine debris items ingested and retained by petrels

Roman, L, Paterson, H, Townsend, KA, Wilcox, C, Hardesty, BD and Hindell, MA ORCID: 0000-0002-7823-7185 2019 , 'Size of marine debris items ingested and retained by petrels' , Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 142 , pp. 569-575 , doi:

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Pollution of the world's oceans by marine debris has direct consequences for wildlife, with fragments of plastic <10 mm the most abundant buoyant litter in the ocean. Seabirds are susceptible to debris ingestion, commonly mistaking floating plastics for food. Studies have shown that half of petrel species regularly ingest anthropogenic waste. Despite the regularity of debris ingestion, no studies to date have quantified the dimensions of debris items ingested across petrel species ranging in size. We excised and measured 1694 rigid anthropogenic debris items from 348 petrel carcasses of 20 species. We found that although the size of items ingested by petrels scale positively with the size of the bird, 90% of all debris items ingested across species fall within a narrow “danger zone” range of 2–10 mm, overlapping with the most abundant oceanic debris size. We conclude that this globally profuse size range of marine plastics is an ingestion hazard to petrels.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Roman, L and Paterson, H and Townsend, KA and Wilcox, C and Hardesty, BD and Hindell, MA
Keywords: seabirds, plastic, marine debris, diet, plastic ingestion, pollution, shearwater, Procellariiform
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Publisher: Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 0025-326X
DOI / ID Number:
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Crown Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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