Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

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

List of Authors: De Pascalis F, De Felice B, Parolini M, Pisu D, Pala D, Antonioli D, Perin E, Gianotti V, Ilahiane L, Masoero G, Serra L, Rubolini D, Cecere JG


Publication year: 2022

Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin

Journal name in source: MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN

Journal acronym: MAR POLLUT BULL

Volume number: 182

Number of pages: 6

ISSN: 0025-326X

eISSN: 1879-3363



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.

Last updated on 2022-30-09 at 09:21