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 531989
Title Plastic ingestion by harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena in the Netherlands: Establishing a standardised method
Author(s) Franeker, Jan A. van; Bravo Rebolledo, Elisa L.; Hesse, Eileen; IJsseldijk, Lonneke L.; Kühn, Susanne; Leopold, Mardik; Mielke, Lara
Source Ambio (2018). - ISSN 0044-7447 - 11 p.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-1002-y
Department(s) IMARES Onderzoeksformatie
IMARES Ecosystemen
Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) harbour porpoise - marine litter monitoring - marine strategy framework directive - MSFD - North Sea - Phocoena phocoena - Plastic ingestion
Abstract Stomach contents of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) collected in the Netherlands between 2003 and 2013 were inspected for the presence of plastic and other man-made litter. In 654 stomach samples the frequency of occurrence of plastic litter was 7% with less than 0.5% additional presence of nonsynthetic
man-made litter. However, we show that when a dedicated standard protocol for the detection of litter is followed, a considerably higher percentage (15% of 81
harbour porpoise stomachs from the period 2010–2013) contained plastic litter. Results thus strongly depended on methods used and time period considered. Occurrence of litter in the stomach was correlated to the presence of other
non-food remains like stones, shells, bog-wood, etc., suggesting that litter was often ingested accidentally when the animals foraged close to the bottom. Most
items were small and were not considered to have had a major health impact. No evident differences in ingestion were found between sexes or age groups, with the exception that neonates contained no litter. Polyethylene and polypropylene were the most common plastic types encountered. Compared to earlier literature on the harbour porpoise and related species, our results suggest higher
levels of ingestion of litter. This is largely due to the lack of dedicated protocols to investigate marine litter ingestion in previous studies. Still, the low frequency of ingestion, and minor number and mass of litter items found in harbour
porpoises in the relatively polluted southern North Sea indicates that the species is not a strong candidate for annual monitoring of marine litter trends under the EU marine strategy framework directive. However, for longerterm
comparisons and regional differences, with proper dedicated protocols applied, the harbour porpoise has specific use in quantifying litter presence in the, for that specific objective, poorly studied benthic marine habitat.
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