Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Marina del Rey, CA, United States

Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Marina del Rey, CA, United States
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Eriksen M.,5 GyResearch Institute | Mason S.,York College | Wilson S.,5 GyResearch Institute | Box C.,5 GyResearch Institute | And 4 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2013

Neuston samples were collected at 21 stations during an ~700 nautical mile (~1300km) expedition in July 2012 in the Laurentian Great Lakes of the United States using a 333μm mesh manta trawl and analyzed for plastic debris. Although the average abundance was approximately 43,000 microplastic particles/km2, station 20, downstream from two major cities, contained over 466,000particles/km2, greater than all other stations combined. SEM analysis determined nearly 20% of particles less than 1mm, which were initially identified as microplastic by visual observation, were aluminum silicate from coal ash. Many microplastic particles were multi-colored spheres, which were compared to, and are suspected to be, microbeads from consumer products containing microplastic particles of similar size, shape, texture and composition. The presence of microplastics and coal ash in these surface samples, which were most abundant where lake currents converge, are likely from nearby urban effluent and coal burning power plants. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Eriksen M.,5 GyResearch Institute | Maximenko N.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Thiel M.,Católica del Norte University | Cummins A.,5 GyResearch Institute | And 5 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2013

Plastic marine pollution in the open ocean of the southern hemisphere is largely undocumented. Here, we report the result of a (4489km) 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 333μm 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 26,898particles km-2 and 70.96gkm-2, respectively. 88.8% of the plastic pollution was found in the middle third of the samples with the highest value of 396,342particles km-2 occurring near the center of the predicted accumulation zone. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Hirai H.,Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology | Takada H.,Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology | Ogata Y.,Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology | Yamashita R.,Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology | And 11 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2011

To understand the spatial variation in concentrations and compositions of organic micropollutants in marine plastic debris and their sources, we analyzed plastic fragments (∼10 mm) from the open ocean and from remote and urban beaches. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), alkylphenols and bisphenol A were detected in the fragments at concentrations from 1 to 10,000 ng/g. Concentrations showed large piece-to-piece variability. Hydrophobic organic compounds such as PCBs and PAHs were sorbed from seawater to the plastic fragments. PCBs are most probably derived from legacy pollution. PAHs showed a petrogenic signature, suggesting the sorption of PAHs from oil slicks. Nonylphenol, bisphenol A, and PBDEs came mainly from additives and were detected at high concentrations in some fragments both from remote and urban beaches and the open ocean. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


News Article | August 22, 2016
Site: cen.acs.org

Microplastics, which include microbeads intentionally placed in personal care products and tiny bits of plastic that shear off larger objects, are increasingly polluting oceans worldwide. And concern is growing that these particles are hurting marine organisms and making their way into the human diet. A new study of fish now helps validate those fears by showing that high levels of polystyrene microplastics inhibit hatching, stunt growth, and boost predation of perch (Science 2016, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8828). The findings are “a serious cause for concern,” says Oona M. Lönnstedt, who carried out the study with Peter Eklöv at Uppsala University. “Microplastic particles often accumulate in shallow coastal areas, where many developmental stages of aquatic organisms are found.” The research could help support microplastics prohibition efforts. Last year, the United Nations Environment Programme called for a phaseout and ban of microbeads in personal care and cosmetic products, and President Barack Obama signed a U.S. law prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or distribution of rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads. The European Union is considering a ban but has not yet acted. Lönnstedt and Eklöv exposed perch embryos and larvae to water containing 10,000 or 80,000 polystyrene particles per m3 and compared them with those grown in water free of microplastics. Exposed embryos hatched less frequently. Exposed larvae were less active and had a greater tendency to ignore the smell of predators, which thus ate them more quickly. Some exposed larvae preferred the polystyrene particles to their natural food source, plankton, causing them to grow more slowly and to reach significantly smaller sizes. The researchers note that particle concentrations used in the study fall within the range found along the Swedish coast, 150 to 102,000 particles per m3. Charles J. Moore of Algalita Marine Research Foundation, an expert on plastic garbage in the world’s oceans, points out that “polystyrene is not likely to be the only plastic ingested in a natural setting.” Polypropylene and polyethylene are less toxic but may also be problematic, he says. Tamara S. Galloway, whose University of Exeter ecotoxicology group saw deleterious growth effects in 2013 when it exposed marine worms to microplastics, says the perch findings suggest a high likelihood of human exposure to microplastics via the food chain. Ecologist Chelsea M. Rochman at the University of California, Davis, and coworkers also showed in 2013 that microplastics could cause liver damage in Japanese medaka fish. And since concluding the new study, the Uppsala group found that the response of damselfish, pike, and flounder to microplastics is “very similar” to the response of perch, Lönnstedt says. Prevention and clean-up of ocean microplastics, Moore contends, is “essential for the survival of countless species in whose ecological niches plastic has insinuated itself in the most insidious ways.” This article has been translated into Spanish by Divulgame.org and can be found here.


Boerger C.M.,Algalita Marine Research Foundation | Lattin G.L.,Algalita Marine Research Foundation | Moore S.L.,Southern California Coastal Water Research Project | Moore C.J.,Algalita Marine Research Foundation
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2010

A significant amount of marine debris has accumulated in the North Pacific Central Gyre (NPCG). The effects on larger marine organisms have been documented through cases of entanglement and ingestion; however, little is known about the effects on lower trophic level marine organisms. This study is the first to document ingestion and quantify the amount of plastic found in the gut of common planktivorous fish in the NPCG. From February 11 to 14, 2008, 11 neuston samples were collected by manta trawl in the NPCG. Plastic from each trawl and fish stomach was counted and weighed and categorized by type, size class and color. Approximately 35% of the fish studied had ingested plastic, averaging 2.1 pieces per fish. Additional studies are needed to determine the residence time of ingested plastics and their effects on fish health and the food chain implications. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Rios L.M.,Pacific University in Oregon | Jones P.R.,Pacific University in Oregon | Moore C.,Algalita Marine Research Foundation | Narayan U.V.,Pacific University in Oregon
Journal of Environmental Monitoring | Year: 2010

Floating marine plastic debris was found to function as solid-phase extraction media, adsorbing and concentrating pollutants out of the water column. Plastic debris was collected in the North Pacific Gyre, extracted, and analyzed for 36 individual PCB congeners, 17 organochlorine pesticides, and 16 EPA priority PAHs. Over 50% contained PCBs, 40% contained pesticides, and nearly 80% contained PAHs. The PAHs included 2, 3 and 4 ring congeners. The PCBs were primarily CB-11, 28, 44, 52, 66, and 101. The pesticides detected were primarily p,p-DDTs and its metabolite, o,p-DDD, as well as BHC (a,b,g and d). The concentrations of pollutants found ranged from a few ppb to thousands of ppb. The types of PCBs and PAHs found were similar to those found in marine sediments. However, these plastic particles were mostly polyethylene which is resistant to degradation and although functioning similarly to sediments in accumulating pollutants, these had remained on or near the ocean surface. Particles collected included intact plastic items as well as many pieces less than 5 mm in size. © 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Gray H.,Algalita Marine Research Foundation | Lattin G.L.,Algalita Marine Research Foundation | Moore C.J.,Algalita Marine Research Foundation
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2012

Laysan Albatrosses (Phoebastria immutabilis) and Black-footed Albatrosses (P. nigripes) ingest plastic debris, as evidenced by studies showing plastic in the digestive contents of their chicks, but there is little documentation of the frequency and amount of ingested plastics carried in foraging adults. In this study, we quantify plastics among the digestive contents of 18 Laysan Albatrosses and 29 Black-footed Albatrosses collected as by-catch in the North Pacific Ocean. We found ingested plastic in 30 of the 47 birds examined, with Laysan Albatrosses exhibiting a greater frequency of plastic ingestion (83.3% n=18) than Black-footed Albatrosses (51.7% n=29) (X2=4.8, df=1, P=0.03). Though the mass of ingested plastic in both species (mean±SD=0.463g±1.447) was lower than previously noted among albatross chicks, the high frequency of ingested plastic we found in this study suggests that long-term effects, e.g. absorption of contaminants from plastics, may be of concern throughout the population. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Algalita Marine Research Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Marine pollution bulletin | Year: 2012

Laysan Albatrosses (Phoebastria immutabilis) and Black-footed Albatrosses (P. nigripes) ingest plastic debris, as evidenced by studies showing plastic in the digestive contents of their chicks, but there is little documentation of the frequency and amount of ingested plastics carried in foraging adults. In this study, we quantify plastics among the digestive contents of 18 Laysan Albatrosses and 29 Black-footed Albatrosses collected as by-catch in the North Pacific Ocean. We found ingested plastic in 30 of the 47 birds examined, with Laysan Albatrosses exhibiting a greater frequency of plastic ingestion (83.3% n=18) than Black-footed Albatrosses (51.7% n=29) (X(2)=4.8, df=1, P=0.03). Though the mass of ingested plastic in both species (meanSD=0.463g1.447) was lower than previously noted among albatross chicks, the high frequency of ingested plastic we found in this study suggests that long-term effects, e.g. absorption of contaminants from plastics, may be of concern throughout the population.


PubMed | Algalita Marine Research Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Marine pollution bulletin | Year: 2010

A significant amount of marine debris has accumulated in the North Pacific Central Gyre (NPCG). The effects on larger marine organisms have been documented through cases of entanglement and ingestion; however, little is known about the effects on lower trophic level marine organisms. This study is the first to document ingestion and quantify the amount of plastic found in the gut of common planktivorous fish in the NPCG. From February 11 to 14, 2008, 11 neuston samples were collected by manta trawl in the NPCG. Plastic from each trawl and fish stomach was counted and weighed and categorized by type, size class and color. Approximately 35% of the fish studied had ingested plastic, averaging 2.1 pieces per fish. Additional studies are needed to determine the residence time of ingested plastics and their effects on fish health and the food chain implications.

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