Fleet, D.M. ; Dau, K. ; Gutow, L. ; Schulz, M. ; Unger, Bianca ; Franeker, J.A. van - \ 2017
Wilhelmshaven : Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (Wadden Sea Quality Status Report ) - 22 p.
The results from the various investigations and monitoring programmes presented in this report demonstrate the continuous and widespread occurrence of litter in the Wadden Sea and adjacent offshore waters. Marine litter of different sizes and from diverse sources occurs on dunes and beaches, in and on inter- to subtidal sediments and in marine organisms, including protected seabirds and mammals. The OSPAR Beach Litter Monitoring and Monitoring on Litter in Fulmars’ Stomachs provide an evaluation of the temporal development of litter abundance in the southern North Sea. Both programmes clearly show that litter densities have not declined since the last Wadden Sea QSR in 2009, indicating that large amounts of litter are still entering the marine environment either directly within the Wadden Sea or from adjacent waters. The amount of litter entering the marine environment is continuously increasing
(Jambeck et al., 2015). This increase is, however, not apparent in the results of the two monitoring programmes. Litter degrades in the marine environment and breaks down into ever smaller fragments. The fragmentation of plastic objects produces microplastics, which are not sufficiently assessed by current monitoring programmes. Densities of microplastics are expected to increase substantially in the future in all marine habitats. Accordingly, scientifically sound monitoring of these synthetic particles with standardized methods that allow for the comparison of results from different programmes will be indispensable.
Marine litter is not restricted to specific habitats but occurs in all compartments of the marine environment with a constant exchange between them. Accordingly, monitoring litter densities in both coastal and offshore habitats is essential for a sound evaluation of litter pollution of the Wadden Sea. Many of the investigations presented in this report are on-off events, which do not provide information on temporal trends. However, they do demonstrate that the Wadden Sea is contaminated with marine litter and that litter densities in the Wadden Sea are not lower than in other coastal regions. The litter densities presented in this report provide a valuable baseline for future evaluations of temporal trends. The monitoring of litter in fulmars’ stomachs and the examinations of carcasses of harbour porpoise, harbour seals and eider ducks revealed that litter does not simply occur in the marine environment but actually interacts in a potentially harmful way with the marine biota. It is well established that the ingestion of litter can have deleterious and often lethal effects on marine organisms. It is yet unknown whether marine litter has demographically relevant implications for marine species. For evaluating this, the effects of marine litter must not be considered in isolation but always together with the effects of other environmental stressors such as ocean warming and acidification, eutrophication and the exploitation of natural stocks (see reports on climate change, geomorphology, eutrophication and fisheries). Several
Wadden Sea Plan targets are compromised by the continuous pollution of the North Sea with marine litter. A proper management of the marine litter problem will require appropriate reduction measures and extended and optimized monitoring programmes in order to evaluate future developments.
Deleterious effects of litter on marine life
Kuhn, S. ; Bravo Rebolledo, E. ; Franeker, J.A. van - \ 2015
In: Marine Anthropogenic Litter / Bergmann, M., Gutow, L., Klages, M., Springer International Publishing - ISBN 9783319165103 - p. 75 - 116.
In this review we report new findings concerning interaction between marine debris and wildlife. Deleterious effects and consequences of entanglement, consumption and smothering are highlighted and discussed. The number of species known to have been affected by either entanglement or ingestion of plastic debris has doubled since 1997, from 267 to 557 species among all groups of wildlife. For marine turtles the number of affected species increased from 86 to 100 % (now 7 of 7 species), for marine mammals from 43 to 66 % (now 81 of 123 species) and for seabirds from 44 to 50 % of species (now 203 of 406 species). Strong increases in records were also listed for fish and invertebrates, groups that were previously not considered in detail. In future records of interactions between marine debris and wildlife we recommend to focus on standardized data on frequency of occurrence and quantities of debris ingested. In combination with dedicated impact studies in the wild or experiments, this will allow more detailed assessments of the deleterious effects of marine debris on individuals and populations.
Nanoplastics in the aquatic environment
Koelmans, A.A. ; Besseling, E. ; Shim, W.J. - \ 2015
In: Marine Anthropogene Litter / Bergmann, M., Gutow, L., Klages, M., Berlin : Springer - ISBN 9783319165103 - p. 325 - 340.
A growing body of literature reports on the abundance and effects of plastic debris, with an increasing focus on microplastic particles smaller than 5 mm. It has often been suggested that plastic particles in the
Modeling the role of microplastics in Bioaccumulation of organic chemicals to marine aquatic organisms. Critical Review
Koelmans, A.A. - \ 2015
In: Marine Anthropogenic Litter / Bergmann M, Gutow L, Klages M (eds), M., Gutow, L., Klages, M., Berlin : Springer - ISBN 9783319165103 - p. 309 - 324.
It has been shown that ingestion of microplastics may increase bioaccumulation of organic chemicals by aquatic organisms. This paper critically reviews the literature on the effects of plastic ingestion on the bioaccumulation of organic chemicals, emphasizing quantitative approaches and mechanistic models. It appears that the role of microplastics can be understood from chemical partitioning to microplastics and subsequent bioaccumulation by biota, with microplastic as a component of the organisms’ diet. Microplastic ingestion may either clean or contaminate the organism, depending on the chemical fugacity gradient between ingested plastic and organism tissue. To date, most laboratory studies used clean test organisms exposed to contaminated microplastic, thus favouring chemical transfer to the organism. Observed effects on bioaccumulation were either insignificant or less than a factor of two to three. In the field, where contaminants are present already, gradients can be expected to be smaller or even opposite, leading to cleaning by plastic. Furthermore, the directions of the gradients may be opposite for the different chemicals present in the chemical mixtures in microplastics and in the environment. This implies a continuous trade-off between slightly increased contamination and cleaning upon ingestion of microplastic, a trade-off that probably attenuates the overall hazard of microplastic ingestion. Simulation models have shown to be helpful in mechanistically analysing these observations and scenarios, and are discussed in detail. Still, the literature on parameterising such models is limited and further experimental work is required to better constrain the parameters in these models for the wide range of organisms and chemicals acting in the aquatic environment. Gaps in knowledge and recommendations for further research are provided.