Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 508184
Title The effect of particle properties on the depth profile of buoyant plastics in the ocean
Author(s) Kooi, Merel; Reisser, J.; Slat, B.; Ferrari, F.; Schmid, M.; Cunsolo, S.; Brambini, R.; Noble, K.; Sirks, L.A.; Linders, T.E.W.; Schoeneich-Argent, R.I.; Koelmans, A.A.
Source Scientific Reports 6 (2016). - ISSN 2045-2322 - 10 p.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep33882
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
WIMEK
IMARES Onderzoeksformatie
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Abstract Most studies on buoyant microplastics in the marine environment rely on sea surface sampling. Consequently, microplastic amounts can be underestimated, as turbulence leads to vertical mixing. Models that correct for vertical mixing are based on limited data. In this study we report measurements of the depth profile of buoyant microplastics in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, from 0 to 5 m depth. Microplastics were separated into size classes (0.5–1.5 and 1.5–5.0 mm) and types (‘fragments’ and ‘lines’), and associated with a sea state. Microplastic concentrations decreased exponentially with depth, with both sea state and particle properties affecting the steepness of the decrease. Concentrations approached zero within 5 m depth, indicating that most buoyant microplastics are present on or near the surface. Plastic rise velocities were also measured, and were found to differ significantly for different sizes and shapes. Our results suggest that (1) surface samplers such as manta trawls underestimate total buoyant microplastic amounts by a factor of 1.04–30.0 and (2) estimations of depth-integrated buoyant plastic concentrations should be done across different particle sizes and types. Our findings can assist with improving buoyant ocean plastic vertical mixing models, mass balance exercises, impact assessments and mitigation strategies.
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