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Home arrow Environment arrow Marine Anthropogenic Litter

Sea Turtles

Although all species of marine turtle ingest macroplastics (Derraik 2002; Schuyler et al. 2014; Kühn et al. 2015), only one study reported plastic pellets in the stomachs of the herbivorous green turtles (Chelonia mydas) (Tourinho et al. 2010).


Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Order Procellariiformes

Family Procellariidae

Kerguelen petrel (Aphrodroma brevirostris)

26

3.8

1

Pellet

North Island, New Zealand

Reid (1981)

Aphrodroma brevirostris

13

8

0.2

Pellets max. mass: 0.0083 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

Aphrodroma brevirostris

63

22.2

/

20 % pellet

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Aphrodroma brevirostris

28

7

/

Fragments and pellets 3–6 mm

Antarctica

Ainley et al. (1990)

Cory's shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)

7

42.8

/

Pellets 46 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Calonectris diomedea

147

24.5

Stomach = 2

Beads 63.7 %

North Carolina, USA

Moser and Lee (1992)

Gizzard = 3.1

Calonectris diomedea

5

100

/

<10

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2009)

Calonectris diomedea

85

83

8 (±7.9)

3.9 (±3.5)

Canary Islands, Spain

Rodríguez et al. (2012)

Calonectris diomedea

49

96

14.6 (±24.0)

2.5 (±6.0a)

Catalan coast, Mediterranean

Codina-García et al. (2013)

Cape petrel (Daption capense)

18

83.3

/

Pellets 48 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Daption capense

30

33

1.0

5.0

Ardery Island, Antarctica

van Franeker and Bell (1988)

Daption capense

105

14

/

Fragments and pellets 3–6 mm

Antarctica

Ainley et al. (1990)

Northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

3

100

7.6

Pellets 1–4 mm

California, USA

Baltz and Morejohn (1976)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Fulmarus glacialis

79

92

11.9

Pellets 50 %

The Netherlands, Arctic

van Franeker (1985)

Fulmarus glacialis

8

50

3.9

Pellets

St. Kilda, U.K.

Furness (1985a)

Fulmarus glacialis

13

92.3

10.6

Pellets

Foula, U.K.

Furness (1985a)

Fulmarus glacialis

1

100

1

Pellet, 4 mm

Oregon, USA

Bayer and Olson (1988)

Fulmarus glacialis

44

86.4

Stomach = 3

Beads 91.9 %

North Carolina, USA

Moser and Lee (1992)

Gizzard = 14

Fulmarus glacialis

19

84.2

Max: 26

Pellets 36 %

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. (1995)

Fulmarus glacialis

3

100

7.7

Pellets 48 %

Offshore, eastern North Pacific

Blight and Burger (1997)

Fulmarus glacialis

15

36

3.6 (±2.7)

7 (±4.0)

Davis Strait, Canadian Arctic

Mallory et al. (2006)

Fulmarus glacialis

1295

95

14.6 (±2.0*)–

33.2 (±3.3*)

>1.0

North Sea

van Franeker et al. (2011)

Fulmarus glacialis

67

92.5

36.8 (±9.8*)

>0.5

Eastern North Pacific

Avery-Gomm et al. (2012)

Fulmarus glacialis

58

79

6.0 (±0.9*)

>1.0

Westfjords, Iceland

Kühn and van Franeker (2012)

Fulmarus glacialis

176

93

26.6 (±37.5)

Fragments and pellets

Nova Scotia, Canada

Bond et al. (2014)

Antarctic fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides)

84

2

/

Fragments and pellets 2–6 mm

Antarctica

Ainley et al. (1990)

Fulmarus glacialoides

9

79

/

<10

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2009)

Blue petrel (Halobaena caerulea)

27

100

/

Pellets

New Zealand

Reid (1981)

Halobaena caerulea

74

85.1

/

Pellets 69 %

Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Halobaena caerulea

62

56

/

Fragments and pellets 3–6 mm

Antarctica

Ainley et al. (1990)

Prions Pachyptila spp.

/

/

/

Pellets

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Bourne and Imber (1982)

Salvin's prion (Pachyptila salvini)

663

20

/

Pellets 2.5–3.5 mm

Wellington, New Zealand

Harper and Fowler (1987)

Pachyptila salvini

31

51.6

/

Pellets 49 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Thin-billed prion (Pachyptila belcheri)

152

6.6

/

Pellets 2.5–3.5 mm

Wellington, New Zealand

Harper and Fowler (1987)

Pachyptila belcheri

32

68.7

/

Pellets 38 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Broad-billed prion (Pachyptila vittata)

31

39

0.6

Pellets max mass: 0.066

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

Pachyptila vittata

310

16.5

/

Pellets 2.5–3.5 mm

Wellington, New Zealand

Harper and Fowler (1987)

Pachyptila vittata

137

20.4

/

56 % pellet

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Pachyptila vittata

69

10

/

Fragments and pellets 3–6 mm

Antarctica

Ainley et al. (1990)

Pachyptila vittata

149

/

1987–1989

Pellets 43.6 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b1.73 ± 3.58

Pachyptila vittata

86

/

1999

Pellets 37.3 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b2.93 ± 3.80

Pachyptila vittata

95

/

2004

Pellets 15.4 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b2.66 ± 5.34

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Antarctic prion (Pachyptila desolata)

35

14.3

/

Pellets 2.5–3.5 mm

Wellington, New Zealand

Harper and Fowler (1987)

Pachyptila desolata

88

47.7

/

Pellets 53 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Pachyptila desolata

2

100

1.0

6–8.1 mm

Heard Island, Australia

Auman et al. (2004)

Fairy prion (Pachyptila turtur)

105

96.2

/

Pellets 2.5–3.5 mm

Wellington, New Zealand

Harper and Fowler (1987)

Snow petrel (Pagodroma nivea)

363

1

/

Fragments and pellets 3–6 mm

Antarctica

Ainley et al. (1990)

White-chinned petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

193

/

1983-1985

Pellets 38.2 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987, 2008)

b1.66 (±3.04)

Procellaria aequinoctialis

526

/

2005–2006

16.2 % pellets

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b1.39 (±3.25)

Procellaria aequinoctialis

41

/

/

<10

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2009)

Procellaria aequinoctialis

34

44

/

<10

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2010)

Spectacled petrel (Procellaria conspicillata)

3

33

/

<10

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuno et al. (2010)

Procellaria conspicillata

9

/

/

<10

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2009)

Tahiti petrel (Pseudobulweria rostrata)

121

<1

1

Fragments

Tropical, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Atlantic petrel (Pterodroma incerta)

13

8

0.1

Pellets max mass: 0.0053 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Pterodroma incerta

20

5

/

Pellets

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Great-winged petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

13

7.6

/

Pellets

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Soft-plumaged petrel (Pterodroma mollis)

29

20.6

/

Pellets 22 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Pterodroma mollis

18

6

0.1

Pellets max. mass:

0.014 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

Juan Fernández petrel (Pterodroma externa)

183

<1

1

Pellets 3–5 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

White-necked petrel (Pterodroma cervicalis)

12

8.3

5

Fragments 3–4 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Pycroft's petrel (Pterodroma pycrofti)

5

40

2.5 (±0.7)

Fragments Pellets 3–5 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

White-winged petrel (Pterodroma leucoptera)

110

11.8

2.2 (±3.0)

Fragments 2–5 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Collared petrel (Pterodroma brevipes)

3

66.7

1

Pellets 2–5 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Black-winged petrel (Pterodroma nigripenni)

66

4.5

3.0 (±3.5)

Fragments 3–5 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Stejneger's petrel (Pterodroma longirostris)

46

73.9

6.8 (± 8.6)

Fragments and pellets 2–5 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Audubon's shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri)

119

5

Stomach = 1

Beads 50 %

North Carolina, USA

Moser and Lee (1992)

Gizzard = 4.4

Little shearwater (Puffinus assimilis)

13

8

0.8

Pellets max. mass:

0.12 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Buller's shearwater (Puffinus bulleri)

3

100

8.5 (±8.6)

Fragments and pellets 2–8 mm

Tropical, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Pink-footed shearwater (Puffinus creatopus)

5

20

2.2

Pellets 1–4 mm

California, USA

Baltz and Morejohn (1976)

Great shearwater (Puffinus gravis)

24

100

/

Beads

Briar Island, Nova Scotia

Brown et al. (1981)

Puffinus gravis

13

85

12.2

Pellets max. mass:

1.13 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

Puffinus gravis

55

63.6

Stomach = 1

Beads 91.2 %

North Carolina, USA

Moser and Lee (1992)

Gizzard = 13.2

Puffinus gravis

50

66

1983–1985

Pellets 64.3 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan ( 1987, 2008)

b16.5 (±19.0)

Puffinus gravis

53

/

2005–2006

Pellets 11.3 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b11.8 (±18.9)

Puffinus gravis

19

89

/

<10 mm

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2009)

Puffinus gravis

6

100

/

Pellets < 3.2–5.3 mm

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2009)

Puffinus gravis

84

88

11.8 (±16.9)

Fragments and pellets

Nova Scotia, Canada

Bond et al. (2014)

Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus)

21

43

5.05

Pellets 1–4 mm

California, USA

Baltz and Morejohn (1976)

Puffinus griseus

5

100

/

Beads

Briar Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Brown et al. (1981)

Puffinus griseus

36

58.3

11.4 (±12.2)

Fragments and pellets 3–20 mm

Tropical, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Puffinus griseus

218

88.5

/

Pellets 25.4 %

Offshore, North Pacific

Ogi (1990)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Puffinus griseus

20

75

3.4

Pellets 38 %

Offshore eastern North Pacific

Blight and Burger (1997)

Puffinus griseus

50

72

2.48 (±2.7)

Fragments and pellets

Nova Scotia, Canada

Bond et al. (2014)

Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus)

46

70

2.5 (±2.9)

3.5 (±10.5a)

Catalan coast, Mediterranean

Codina-García et al. (2013)

Christmas shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis)

5

40

1

Pellet 3–5 mm

Tropical, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Fragment 4 mm

Wedge-tailed shearwater (Puffinus pacificus) dark phase

23

4

2.5 (±2.1)

Fragments

Tropical, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

62

24.2

3.5 (±2.7)

Fragments and pellets

Puffinus pacificus

20

60

Max: 11

Pellets 2–4 mm

Hawaii, USA

Fry et al. (1987)

Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus)

10

30

0.4

Pellets

Rhum, U.K.

Furness (1985a)

Puffinus puffinus

25

60

/

<10 mm

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2009)

Puffinus puffinus

6

17

/

Fragments

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Colabuono et al. (2009)

Short-tailed shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris)

6

100

19.8

Pellets 1–4 mm

California, USA

Baltz and Morejohn (1976)

Puffinus tenuirostris

324

81.8

/

Pellets 67.2 %

Offshore, North Pacific

Ogi (1990)

Puffinus tenuirostris

330

83.9

5.8 (±0.4*)

Pellets 2–5 mm

Bering Sea, North Pacific

Vlietstra and Parga (2002)

Puffinus tenuirostris

5

80

/

Fragments and pellets

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. 1995

Puffinus tenuirostris

99

100

15.1 (±13.2)

>2 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Yamashita et al. (2011)

Puffinus tenuirostris

129

67

Adults: 4.5

Fragments 0.97–80.8 mm

North Stradbroke Island, Australia

Acampora et al. (2013)

Juvenile: 7.1

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Puffinus tenuirostris

12

100

27

>2 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Tanaka et al. (2013)

Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)

31

71

4.9 (±7.3)

4.0 (±13.0a)

Catalan coast, Mediterranean

Codina-García et al. (2013)

Antarctic petrel (Thalassoica antarctica)

184

<1

/

Fragments and pellets 3–6 mm

Antarctica

Ainley et al. (1990

Family Hydrobatidae

White-bellied storm petrel (Fregetta grallaria)

13

38

1.2

Pellets max. mass:

0.042 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

Fregetta grallaria

296

<1

1

Fragment

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Fregetta grallaria

318

/

1987–89

Pellets 33.3 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b0.63 ± 1.13

Fregetta grallaria

137

/

1999

Pellets 20.9 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b0.63 ± 1.37

Fregetta grallaria

95

/

2004

Pellets 16.2 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b0.72 ± 1.87

Grey-backed storm petrel (Garrodia nereis)

11

27

0.3

Pellets max. mass:

0.010 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

Garrodia nereis

12

8.3

/

Pellets

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Fork-tailed storm petrel (Oceanodroma furcata)

/

/

/

<5 mm

Aleutian Islands, USA

Ohlendorf et al. (1978)

Oceanodroma furcata

21

85.7

Max.: 12

Pellets 22 %

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. (1995)

Oceanodroma furcata

7

100

20.1

Pellets 16 %

Offshore, eastern North Pacific

Blight and Burger (1997)

Leach's storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa)

15

40

1.66 (±1.2)

2–5 mm

Newfoundland, Canada

Rothstein (1973)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Oceanodroma leucorhoa

17

58.8

2.9

Pellets

St. Kilda, U.K.

Furness (1985a)

Oceanodroma leucorhoa

354

19.8

3.5 (±2.6)

Fragments and pellets 2–5 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Oceanodroma leucorhoa

64

48.4

Max.: 13

Monofilament line, fragments, pellets

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. (1995)

Wilson's storm petrel (Oceanites oceanicus)

20

75

4.4

2.9 mm

Ardery Island, Antarctica

van Franeker and Bell (1988)

Oceanites oceanicus

91

19

/

Fragments and pellets 3–6 mm

Antarctica

Ainley et al. (1990)

Oceanites oceanicus

133

38.3

Stomach = 1.4

26 % beads

North Carolina, USA

Moser and Lee (1992)

Gizzard = 5.4

White-faced storm petrel (Pelagodroma marina)

19

84

11.7

Pellets max. mass:

0.34 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

Pelagodroma marina

15

73.3

13.2 ± 9.5

Pellets 2–5 mm

Offshore, North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Pelagodroma marina

24

20.8

/

Pellets 41 %

Southern Hemisphere

Ryan (1987)

Pelagodroma marina

253

1987–89

Pellets 69.6 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b3.98 ± 5.45

Pelagodroma marina

86

/

1999

Pellets 37.5 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b4.06 ± 5.93

Pelagodroma marina

5

/

2004

Pellets 13.5 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (2008)

b2.52 ± 4.43

Family Diomedeidae

Sooty albatross (Phoebetria fusca)

73

42.7

/

Pellets 34 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis)

/

52

/

Pellets 2–5 mm

Hawaiian Islands, USA

Sileo et al. (1990)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes)

/

12

/

Pellets 2–5 mm

Hawaiian Islands, USA

Sileo et al. (1990)

Phoebastria nigripes

3

100

5.3

Pellets 50 %

Offshore, eastern North Pacific

Blight and Burger (1997)

Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris)

2

100

3

Pellets 50 %

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Tourinho et al. (2010)

Order Charadriiformes

Family Laridae

Audouin's gull (Larus audouinii)

15

13

49.3 (±77.7)

2.5 (±5.0*)

Catalan coast, Mediterranean

Codina-García et al. (2013)

Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens)

589

boluses

12.2

/

<10 mm

Protection Island, USA

Lindborg et al. (2012)

Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni)

15

7

1

Pellets 1–4 mm

California, USA

Baltz and Morejohn (1976)

Mediterranean gull (Larus melanocephalus)

4

25

3.7 (±7.5)

3.0 (±5.0*)

Catalan coast, Mediterranean

Codina-García et al. (2013)

Yellow-legged gull) (Larus michahellis)

12

33

0.9 (±1.5)

2.0 (±8.0*)

Catalan coast, Mediterranean

Codina-García et al. (2013)

Red-legged kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris)

15

26.7

/

Pellets 5 %

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. (1995)

Mean size: 5.87 mm

Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)

8

8

4.0

Pellets 1–4 mm

California, USA

Baltz and Morejohn (1976)

Rissa tridactyla

256

7.8

Max.: 15

Pellets 5 %

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. (1995)

Rissa tridactyla

4

50

1.2 (±1.9)

3.0 (±5.0*)

Catalan coast, Mediterranean

Codina-García et al. (2013)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Family Alcidae

Parakeet auklet (Aethia psittacula)

/

/

/

<5 mm

Aleutians Islands, USA

Ohlendorf et al. (1978)

Aethia psittacula

208

93.8

17.1

Pellets > 80 %

4.08 mm

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. (1995)

Tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata)

489

24.5

Max.: 51

Pellets 90 %

4.10 mm

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. (1995)

Fratercula cirrhata

9

89

3.3

Pellets 43 %

Offshore, North Pacific

Blight and Burger (1997)

Horned puffin (Fratercula corniculata)

/

/

/

<5 mm

Aleutian Islands, USA

Ohlendorf et al. (1978)

Fratercula corniculata

120

36.7

Max.:14

Pellets 40 %

5.03 mm

Alaska, USA

Robards et al. (1995)

Fratercula corniculata

2

50

1.5

Pellets

Offshore, North Pacific

Blight and Burger (1997)

Common murre (Uria aalge)

1

100

2011–2012

1

6.6 (±2.2)

Newfoundland, Canada

Bond et al. (2013)

Thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia)

186

11

0.2 (±0.8)

4.5 (±3.8)

Canadian Arctic

Provencher et al. (2010)

Uria lomvia

3

100

2011–2012

1

6.6 (±2.2)

Newfoundland, Canada

Bond et al. (2013)

Uria lomvia

1249

7.7

1985–1986

0.14 (±0.7*)

10.1 (±7.4)

Newfoundland, Canada

Bond et al. (2013)

Family Stercorariidae

Brown skua (Stercorarius antarcticus)

494

22.7

/

Pellets 67 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Tristan skua (Stercorarius hamiltoni)

11

9

0.3

Max.: 3

Pellets

Max. mass: 0.064 g

Gough Island, U.K. South Atlantic

Furness (1985b)

(continued)

Species

Number studied

Percentage with plastic (%)

Mean number of particles per individual

Type and mean size ingested (mm)

Location

Source

Long-tailed skua (Stercorarius longicaudus)

2

50

5

Fragments and pellets

Offshore, eastern North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Arctic skua (Stercorarius parasiticus)

2

50

/

Pellets 50 %

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Family Scolopacidae

Grey phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius)

20

100

Max.: 36

Beads 1.7–4.4 mm

California, USA

Bond (1971)

Phalaropus fulicarius

7

85.7

5.7

Pellets

California, USA

Connors and Smith (1982)

Phalaropus fulicarius

2

50

/

Pellets

Breeding grounds, Southern Ocean

Ryan (1987)

Phalaropus fulicarius

55

69.1

Stomach = 1

Gizzard = 6.7

Beads 16.7 %

North Carolina, USA

Moser and Lee (1992)

Red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

36

19.4

Stomach = 0

Gizzard = 3.7

Beads 16.7 %

North Carolina, USA

Moser and Lee (1992)

Family Sternidae

Sooty tern (Onychoprion fuscatus)

64

1.6

2

Pellets 4 mm

Offshore, eastern North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

White tern (Gygis alba)

8

12.5

5

Fragments 3–4 mm

Offshore, eastern North Pacific

Spear et al. (1995)

Order Suliformes

Family Phalacrocoracidae

Macquarie Shag (Phalacrocorax (atriceps) purpurascens)

64 boluses

7.8

1 per bolus

Polystyrene spheres

Macquarie Island, Australia

Slip et al. (1990)

aMedian (±0.8) 95 % confidence intervals. Plastics found in total of 28 % birds

bThis is total mean abundance of plastics, including pellets and user fragments; sizes of pellets are assumed to be 2–5 mm, according to recent literature

It is highly likely that other species of sea turtle also ingest microplastics incidentally or directly, depending on their feeding habits (Schuyler et al. 2014). Neonatal and oceanic post-hatchlings are generalist feeders (Bjorndal 1997), targeting plankton from surface waters and microplastic uptake may occur. Trophic transfer from prey items could be a pathway to larger individuals; loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) turtles are carnivores, feeding on crustaceans and bivalves (Bjorndal 1997), which ingest microplastics (e.g. Browne et al. 2008). Flatbacks (Natator depressa) are also carnivores but feed on soft bodied invertebrates (Bjorndal 1997), including sea cucumbers, which again, ingest microplastics (Graham and Thompson 2009). Leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) feed on gelatinous organisms (Bjorndal 1997) and are thus more likely to ingest macroplastics because of their size and similarity to prey items. If microplastics are ingested they could affect sea turtle growth and development if they are not egested. Additional work is required to understand whether turtles actively ingest microplastics, and if so, the extent of the harm caused.

 
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