Folder Desktop Study on Marine Litter, Including Microplastics, in the Arctic

Desktop_Study_on_Marine_Litter.jpgThis is a collection of submissions on marine litter literature of relevance to the Arctic based on a dedicated submission form sent out to Arctic Council members and experts in Fall 2017. This was in support of the development of the  Desktop Study on Marine Litter, including Microplastics in the Arctic (May 2019) with the aim to:
  1. Evaluate the scope of marine litter in the Arctic and its effects on the Arctic marine environment;
  2. Enhance knowledge and awareness of marine litter in the Arctic;
  3. Enhance cooperation by the eight Arctic States to reduce negative impacts of marine litter on the Arctic marine environment; and
  4. Contribute to the prevention and/or reduction of marine litter pollution in the Arctic and its impact on marine organisms, habitats, public health and safety, and to reduce the socioeconomic costs litter causes.

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pdf Acampora, H., et al. (2017). "Opportunistic sampling to quantify plastics in the diet of unfledged Black Legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) and Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo)." Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 58 downloads

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Acampora-2017-Opportunistic sampling to quanti.pdf

Acampora, H., et al. (2017). "Opportunistic sampling to quantify plastics in the diet of unfledged Black Legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) and Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo)." Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Seabirds can interact with marine litter, mainly by entanglement or ingestion. The ingestion of plastics can lead to starvation or physical damage to the digestive tract. For chicks, it could additionally lead to reduced growth, affecting survival and fledging. This study quantified the ingestion of plastics by seabird chicks via an opportunistic sampling strategy. When ringing is carried out at colonies, birds may spontaneously regurgitate their stomach contents due to the stress or as a defence mechanism. Regurgitates were collected from nestlings of three different species: Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla, n = 38), Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis, n = 14) and Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo, n = 28). Plastic was present in all species, with the highest frequency of occurrence (FO) in Northern Fulmar chicks (28.6%), followed by Black-legged Kittiwakes (7.9%) and Great Cormorants (7.1%). The observed load of plastics on chicks, which have not yet left the nest, highlights the pervasive nature of plastic pollution.

pdf Ask, A., et al. (2016). Contaminants in northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) exposed to plastic. Copenhagen K., Nordic Council of Ministers.

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Ask-2016-Contaminants in northern fulmars (Ful.pdf

Ask, A., et al. (2016). Contaminants in northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) exposed to plastic. Copenhagen K., Nordic Council of Ministers.
Marine plastic pollution is a widespread and increasing problem. Due to the chemical and physical properties of plastic, it tends to persist in the marine environment over long periods of time where it has the potential to harm fauna and flora. Among the many threats posed by plastic, ingestion of plastic is frequently observed in a variety of species. Seabirds, and especially the Procellariiformes, are commonly found with high levels of ingested plastics. Apart from the physical dangers of ingested plastics (e.g. internal injuries and lodging in the digestive system), there is concern that the chemicals added to and adsorbed to the plastic could be absorbed by the bird and exert toxic effects. The aim of this study was to investigate this by expanding upon and comparing two datasets on northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) in relation to the contaminant concentration in selected tissues and ingested plastics.  Fulmars from the Faroe Islands were all bycatch victims from longline fisheries caught in 2011 and fulmars from Norway were predominantly bycatch from fisheries in 2012 and 2013, supplemented with a few individuals found beached. Upon dissection, plastic content in the stomach was quantified and tissues (liver for the Faroese fulmars and muscle and liver for the Norwegian fulmars) were frozen for subsequent chemical analyses. Tissues were analysed for a suite of persistent organic pollutants: polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, metabolites, organophosphate flame retardants, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and other pesticides. The data were then analysed statistically to examine whether there were associations between the level of ingested plastic and contaminant concentration in the fulmars, in addition to comparing contaminant burdens between Faroese and Norwegian fulmars. After correcting for the multiple testing, there were no statistically significant differences in contaminant concentrations between the various plastic ingestion groups. The contaminant concentrations in liver in Faroese and Norwegian fulmars were not significantly different after correcting for the multiple testing. Thus, it appears that ingested plastic is not a significant route of exposure to the adsorbed contaminants analysed herein for the fulmar.  

pdf Avery-Gomm, S., et al. (2012). "Northern fulmars as biological monitors of trends of plastic pollution in the eastern North Pacific." Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(9): 1776-1781.

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Avery-Gomm-2012-Northern fulmars as biological.pdf

Avery-Gomm, S., et al. (2012). "Northern fulmars as biological monitors of trends of plastic pollution in the eastern North Pacific." Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(9): 1776-1781.
Marine plastic debris is a global issue, which highlights the need for internationally standardized methods of monitoring plastic pollution. The stomach contents of beached northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) have proven a cost-effective biomonitor in Europe. However, recent information on northern fulmar plastic ingestion is lacking in the North Pacific. We quantified the stomach contents of 67 fulmars from beaches in the eastern North Pacific in 2009–2010 and found that 92.5% of fulmars had ingested an average of 36.8 pieces, or 0.385 g of plastic. Plastic ingestion in these fulmars is among the highest recorded globally. Compared to earlier studies in the North Pacific, our findings indicate an increase in plastic ingestion over the past 40 years. This study substantiates the use of northern fulmar as biomonitors of plastic pollution in the North Pacific and suggests that the high levels of plastic pollution in this region warrant further monitoring.

pdf Bergmann, M., et al. (2015). Marine Anthropogenic Litter, Springer.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 43 downloads

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Bergmann-2015-Marine anthropogenic litter.pdf

Bergmann, M., et al. (2015). Marine Anthropogenic Litter, Springer.
No Abstract Available

pdf Bond, A. L., et al. (2010). "Auklet (Charadriiformes: Alcidae, Aethia spp.) chick meals from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, have a very low incidence of plastic marine debris." Marine Pollution Bulletin 60(8): 1346-1349.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 39 downloads

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Bond-2010-Auklet (Charadriiformes_ Alcidae, Ae.pdf

Bond, A. L., et al. (2010). "Auklet (Charadriiformes: Alcidae, Aethia spp.) chick meals from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, have a very low incidence of plastic marine debris." Marine Pollution Bulletin 60(8): 1346-1349.
The ingestion of plastic marine debris is a chronic problem for some of the world’s seabird species, contributing to reduced chick survival, population declines, and deposition of contaminants via absorption in birds’ gastrointestinal tract. We analysed the frequency of ingested plastic in chick meals delivered by adults in four species of auklet – Crested (Aethia cristatella), Least (A. pusilla), Parakeet (A. psittacula), and Whiskered (A. pygmaea) – from three breeding colonies in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA over a 14-year period from 1993 to 2006. Among 2541 chick meals, we found plastic in only one – from a Whiskered Auklet on Buldir Island in 1993. While adult Parakeet Auklets have a high frequency of plastic ingestion (over 90%), no chick meals contained plastic. Unlike other seabirds, the planktivorous auklets do not appear to offload plastic to their chicks, and we conclude that auklet chicks are probably at a low risk of contamination from plastic debris.

pdf Bond, A. L., et al. (2013). "Ingestion of plastic marine debris by Common and Thick-billed Murres in the northwestern Atlantic from 1985 to 2012." Marine Pollution Bulletin 77(1): 192-195.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 31 downloads

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Bond-2013-Ingestion of plastic marine debris b.pdf

Bond, A. L., et al. (2013). "Ingestion of plastic marine debris by Common and Thick-billed Murres in the northwestern Atlantic from 1985 to 2012." Marine Pollution Bulletin 77(1): 192-195.
Plastic ingestion by seabirds is a growing conservation issue, but there are few time series of plastic ingestion with large sample sizes for which one can assess temporal trends. Common and Thick-billed Murres (Uria aalge and U. lomvia) are pursuit-diving auks that are legally harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Here, we combined previously unpublished data on plastic ingestion (from the 1980s to the 1990s) with contemporary samples (2011–2012) to evaluate changes in murres’ plastic ingestion. Approximately 7% of murres had ingested plastic, with no significant change in the frequency of ingestion among species or periods. The number of pieces of plastic/bird, and mass of plastic/bird were highest in the 1980s, lowest in the late 1990s, and intermediate in contemporary samples. Studying plastic ingestion in harvested seabird populations links harvesters to conservation and health-related issues and is a useful source of large samples for diet and plastic ingestion studies.

pdf Bond, A. L., et al. (2014). "Plastic ingestion by fulmars and shearwaters at Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada." Marine Pollution Bulletin 87(1): 68-75.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 35 downloads

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Bond-2014-Plastic ingestion by fulmars and she.pdf

Bond, A. L., et al. (2014). "Plastic ingestion by fulmars and shearwaters at Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada." Marine Pollution Bulletin 87(1): 68-75.
Plastic pollution is widespread in the marine environment, and plastic ingestion by seabirds is now widely reported for dozens of species. Beached Northern Fulmars, Great Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters and Cory’s Shearwaters are found on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada regularly, and they can be used to assess plastic pollution. All species except Cory’s Shearwaters contained plastic debris in their gastrointestinal tracts. Northern Fulmars, Sooty Shearwaters and Great Shearwaters all showed high prevalence of plastic ingestion (>72%), with Northern Fulmars having the highest number and mass of plastics among the species examined. There was no difference in plastic ingestion between sexes or age classes. In all species user plastics made up the majority of the pieces found, with industrial pellets representing only a small proportion in the samples. Sable Island could be an important monitoring site for plastic pollution in Atlantic Canada.

pdf Buhl-Mortensen, L. and P. Buhl-Mortensen (2017). Marine litter in the Nordic Seas: Distribution composition and abundance. Mar Pollut Bull, 125(1-2): 260-270

Tagged in Macroplastics, MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 30 downloads

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Buhl-Mortensen-2017-Marine litter in the Nordi.pdf

Buhl-Mortensen, L. and P. Buhl-Mortensen (2017). Marine litter in the Nordic Seas: Distribution composition and abundance. Mar Pollut Bull, 125(1-2): 260-270

Litter has been found in all marine environments and is accumulating in seabirds and mammals in the Nordic Seas. These ecosystems are under pressure from climatic change and fisheries while the human population is small. The marine landscapes in the area range from shallow fishing banks to deep-sea canyons. We present density, distribution and composition of litter from the first large-scale mapping of sea bed litter in arctic and subarctic waters. Litter was registered from 1778 video transects, of which 27% contained litter. The background density of litter in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea is 202 and 279 items/km2 respectively, and highest densities were found close to coast and in canyons. Most of the litter originated from the fishing industry and plastic was the second most common litter. Background levels were comparable to European records and areas with most littering had higher densities than in Europe.

pdf Cózar, A., et al. (2017). "The Arctic Ocean as a dead end for floating plastics in the North Atlantic branch of the Thermohaline Circulation." Science advances 3(4): e1600582.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 36 downloads

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Cózar-2017-The Arctic Ocean as a dead end for.pdf

Cózar, A., et al. (2017). "The Arctic Ocean as a dead end for floating plastics in the North Atlantic branch of the Thermohaline Circulation." Science advances 3(4): e1600582.
The subtropical ocean gyres are recognized as great marine accummulation zones of floating plastic debris; however, the possibility of plastic accumulation at polar latitudes has been overlooked because of the lack of nearby pollution sources. In the present study, the Arctic Ocean was extensively sampled for floating plastic debris from the Tara Oceans circumpolar expedition. Although plastic debris was scarce or absent in most of the Arctic waters, it reached high concentrations (hundreds of thousands of pieces per square kilometer) in the northernmost and easternmost areas of the Greenland and Barents seas. The fragmentation and typology of the plastic suggested an abundant presence of aged debris that originated from distant sources. This hypothesis was corroborated by the relatively high ratios of marine surface plastic to local pollution sources. Surface circulation models and field data showed that the poleward branch of the Thermohaline Circulation transfers floating debris from the North Atlantic to the Greenland and Barents seas, which would be a dead end for this plastic conveyor belt. Given the limited surface transport of the plastic that accumulated here and the mechanisms acting for the downward transport, the seafloor beneath this Arctic sector is hypothesized as an important sink of plastic debris.

pdf Doyle, M. J., et al. (2011). "Plastic particles in coastal pelagic ecosystems of the Northeast Pacific ocean." Marine environmental research 71(1): 41-52.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 35 downloads

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Doyle-2011-Plastic particles in coastal pelagi.pdf

Doyle, M. J., et al. (2011). "Plastic particles in coastal pelagic ecosystems of the Northeast Pacific ocean." Marine environmental research 71(1): 41-52.
The purpose of this study was to examine the distribution, abundance and characteristics of plastic particles in plankton samples collected routinely in Northeast Pacific ecosystems, and to contribute to the development of ideas for future research into the occurrence and impact of small plastic debris in marine pelagic ecosystems. Plastic debris particles were assessed from zooplankton samples collected as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ongoing ecosystem surveys during two research cruises in the Southeast Bering Sea in the spring and fall of 2006 and four research cruises off the U.S. west coast (primarily off southern California) in spring, summer and fall of 2006, and in January of 2007. Nets with 0.505 mm mesh were used to collect surface samples during all cruises, and sub-surface samples during the four cruises off the west coast. The 595 plankton samples processed indicate that plastic particles are widely distributed in surface waters. The proportion of surface samples from each cruise that contained particles of plastic ranged from 8.75 to 84.0%, whereas particles were recorded in sub-surface samples from only one cruise (in 28.2% of the January 2007 samples). Spatial and temporal variability was apparent in the abundance and distribution of the plastic particles and mean standardized quantities varied among cruises with ranges of 0.004–0.19 particles/m3, and 0.014–0.209 mg dry mass/m3. Off southern California, quantities for the winter cruise were significantly higher, and for the spring cruise significantly lower than for the summer and fall surveys (surface data). Differences between surface particle concentrations and mass for the Bering Sea and California coast surveys were significant for pair-wise comparisons of the spring but not the fall cruises. The particles were assigned to three plastic product types: product fragments, fishing net and line fibers, and industrial pellets; and five size categories: <1 mm, 1–2.5 mm, >2.5–5 mm, >5–10 mm, and >10 mm. Product fragments accounted for the majority of the particles, and most were less than 2.5 mm in size. The ubiquity of such particles in the survey areas and predominance of sizes <2.5 mm implies persistence in these pelagic ecosystems as a result of continuous breakdown from larger plastic debris fragments, and widespread distribution by ocean currents. Detailed investigations of the trophic ecology of individual zooplankton species, and their encounter rates with various size ranges of plastic particles in the marine pelagic environment, are required in order to understand the potential for ingestion of such debris particles by these organisms. Ongoing plankton sampling programs by marine research institutes in large marine ecosystems are good potential sources of data for continued assessment of the abundance, distribution and potential impact of small plastic debris in productive coastal pelagic zones.

pdf Edwards, E. W., et al. (2016). "State‐space modelling of geolocation data reveals sex differences in the use of management areas by breeding northern fulmars." Journal of Applied Ecology 53(6): 1880-1889.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 41 downloads

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Edwards-2016-State‐space modelling of geolocat.pdf

Edwards, E. W., et al. (2016). "State‐space modelling of geolocation data reveals sex differences in the use of management areas by breeding northern fulmars." Journal of Applied Ecology 53(6): 1880-1889.
Effective management and conservation of terrestrially breeding marine predators requires information on connectivity between specific breeding sites and at-sea foraging areas. In the north-east Atlantic, efforts to monitor and manage the impacts of bycatch or pollution events within different Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) management regions are currently constrained by uncertainty over the origins of seabirds occurring in each area.
Whilst Global Positioning System (GPS) loggers can now provide high resolution data on seabird foraging characteristics, their use is largely restricted to the chick-rearing period. Smaller light-based Global Location Sensors (geolocators) could provide valuable data during earlier phases of the breeding season, but additional information on their accuracy is required to assess this potential.
We used incubation trip tracking data from 11 double-tagged (GPS/geolocator) northern fulmars Fulmarus glacialis L. within a state-space modelling (SSM) framework to estimate errors around geolocator locations. The SSM was then fitted to a larger sample of geolocator data from the pre-laying exodus using the mean of these error estimates. Geolocator data were first used to compare the trip durations of males and females during this critical pre-laying period. Outputs from the SSM were then used to characterize their spatial distribution and assess the extent of within-colony variation in the use of different OSPAR management regions.
During the pre-laying exodus, fulmars from a single colony in the north-east of the United Kingdom foraged widely across several biogeographical regions, up to 2900 km from the colony. Most (60%) males remained within the North Sea region, whereas most (68%) females flew north, foraging within the Norwegian and Barents Sea. A small subset of birds (15%) travelled to the central North Atlantic. Foraging trips by males appeared to be shorter (x = 18 days, n = 20) than by females (x = 25 days, n = 19).
Policy implications. Our results of state-space modelling of geolocation data collected from northern fulmars show that within-colony variation in ranging behaviour during the breeding season results in sex differences in exposure to threats such as fisheries bycatch and marine plastics. Birds from a single colony dispersed over several north-east Atlantic management areas. These patterns have implications for interpreting trends in colony-based monitoring schemes, and European Union Marine Strategy Framework programmes using these seabirds as an indicator species for monitoring trends in marine litter and prioritizing efforts to mitigate its impact.

pdf Fife, D. T., et al. (2015). "Trace elements and ingested plastic debris in wintering dovekies (Alle alle)." Marine Pollution Bulletin 91(1): 368-371.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 36 downloads

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Fife-2015-Trace elements and ingested plastic.pdf

Fife, D. T., et al. (2015). "Trace elements and ingested plastic debris in wintering dovekies (Alle alle)." Marine Pollution Bulletin 91(1): 368-371.
We provide the first report on winter concentrations of 32 trace metals from dovekies (Alle alle), a small, Arctic seabird that has a seasonal shift in diet from small zooplankton in the breeding season to larger zooplankton and small fish in the non-breeding season. Concentrations of selected trace elements, as well as stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope concentrations for a sample of 25 dovekies, were similar between adult males and females, and there was evidence that dovekies feeding at higher trophic levels had higher hepatic Hg. We also found plastic debris in nine of 65 (14%) gizzards examined. Our study helps provide a more complete picture of the foraging ecology and contaminant profile of dovekies, an important species in Arctic marine food webs.

pdf Hammer, S., et al. (2016). "Plastic debris in great skua (Stercorarius skua) pellets corresponds to seabird prey species." Marine Pollution Bulletin 103(1): 206-210.

Tagged in MarineLitterGeneralUndefined 44 downloads

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Hammer-2016-Plastic debris in great skua (Ster.pdf

Hammer, S., et al. (2016). "Plastic debris in great skua (Stercorarius skua) pellets corresponds to seabird prey species." Marine Pollution Bulletin 103(1): 206-210.
Plastic is a common item in marine environments. Studies assessing seabird ingestion of plastics have focused on species that ingest plastics mistaken for prey items. Few studies have examined a scavenger and predatory species that are likely to ingest plastics indirectly through their prey items, such as the great skua (Stercorarius skua). We examined 1034 regurgitated pellets from a great skua colony in the Faroe Islands for plastics and found approximately 6% contained plastics. Pellets containing remains of Northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) had the highest prevalence of plastic. Our findings support previous work showing that Northern fulmars have higher loads of plastics than other sympatric species. This study demonstrates that marine plastic debris is transferred from surface feeding seabird species to predatory great skuas. Examination of plastic ingestion in species that do not ingest plastics directly can provide insights into how plastic particles transfer vertically within the food web.

pdf Kühn, S. and J. A. van Franeker (2012). "Plastic ingestion by the northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Iceland." Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(6): 1252-1254.

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Kuhn-2012-Plastic ingestion by the northern fu.pdf

Kühn, S. and J. A. van Franeker (2012). "Plastic ingestion by the northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Iceland." Marine Pollution Bulletin 64(6): 1252-1254.
In 2011, northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) from Iceland were used to test the hypothesis that plastic debris decreases at northern latitudes in the Atlantic when moving away from major human centres of coastal and marine activities. Stomach analyses of Icelandic fulmars confirm that plastic pollution levels in the North Atlantic tend to decrease towards higher latitudes. Levels of pollution thus appear to link to regions of intense human coastal and marine activities, suggesting substantial current inputs in those areas.

pdf Mallory, M. L. (2006). "The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Arctic Canada: ecology, threats, and what it tells us about marine environmental conditions." Environmental Reviews 14(3): 187-216.

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Mallory-2006-The northern fulmar (Fulmarus gla.pdf

Mallory, M. L. (2006). "The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Arctic Canada: ecology, threats, and what it tells us about marine environmental conditions." Environmental Reviews 14(3): 187-216.
The northern fulmar Fulmarus glacialis is a ubiquitous seabird found across the North Atlantic Ocean and into the Canadian Arctic. However, we know little of its ecology in the Arctic, which is unfortunate, because it possesses many traits that make it an excellent biomonitor of the condition of Arctic marine environments. Presently, Arctic fulmars face threats from harvest, bycatch in fisheries, and fouling in oil spills while the birds are in their winter range (the North Atlantic). However, during breeding, migration, and overwintering, they may also experience stress from ecotourism, contaminants, particulate garbage, and climate change. In this paper I review the effects of all of these threats on fulmars and I describe how the ecology of these birds makes them particularly suitable for tracking contaminants, garbage, and the effects of climate change in the Arctic marine ecosystem. I also highlight our key existing knowledge gaps on this species and how additional research will strengthen the utility of fulmars as biomonitors. 

pdf Matsumura et al. (1990). MOVEMENTS OF FLOATING DEBRIS IN THE NORTH PACIFIC

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Matsumura-1990-Movements of floating debris in.PDF

Matsumura et al. (1990).  MOVEMENTS OF FLOATING DEBRIS IN THE NORTH PACIFIC

A net fragments tracking experiment and numerical simulations using surface current data set (SCUDS) data were conducted to estimate movements of floating debris in the North Pacific.

Six driftnet sets ( 4 0 tans each) were placed in the area lat.39'N, long.155"E. Locations of the net sets and sea surface temperatures were collected and transmitted every day using the Argos system. Data were taken about six times a day for 4 months. At termination of the net drifting experiment, the net sets with buoys were retrieved and new Argos buoys with curtain drogues were released at the points of retrieval tocontinue the surface current tracking.

The buoys moved predominantly eastward, although each track line was complicated,particularly in areas near the Oyashio Front. It is considered that the movements of the nets were mainly due to surface currents and that direct influence from wind was negligible, because the underwater portion was very large (a driftnet 2,000 m long although it had formed a mass) compared with the above-water portion of the buoy. Average speed was estimated based on the buoy movements and ranged from 10 km/day to 20 km/day. Movements of floating debris in the North Pacific were simulated using a computer model based on SCUDS.

Results showed the existence of two large-scaleeddies in the eastern and western parts of the mid-Pacific,and floating debris are through to accumulate in these areas.