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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Tagged in: Microplastics

Showing documents tagged with Microplastics. Show all

pdf Lusher, A. L., C. O'Donnell, R. Officer and I. O'Connor (2016). Microplastic interactions with North Atlantic mesopelagic fish. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil, 73(4): 1214-1225 Popular

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Lusher-2016-Microplastic interactions with Nor.pdf

Lusher, A. L., C. O'Donnell, R. Officer and I. O'Connor (2016). Microplastic interactions with North Atlantic mesopelagic fish. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil, 73(4): 1214-1225

Microplastics in the marine environment are well documented, and interactions with marine biota have been described worldwide. However, inter- actions with vertically migrating fish are poorly understood. The diel vertical migration of mesopelagic fish represents one, if not the largest, vertical migration of biomass on the planet, and is thus an important link between the euphotic zone, transporting carbon and other nutrients to global deep sea communities. Knowledge of how mesopelagic fish interact and distribute plastic as a marine contaminant is required as these populations have been identified as a potential global industrial fishery for fishmeal production. Ingestion of microplastic by mesopelagic fish in the Northeast Atlantic was studied. Approximately 11% of the 761 fish examined had microplastics present in their digestive tracts. No clear difference in ingestion frequency was identified between species, location, migration behaviour, or time of capture. While ingesting microplastic may not negatively impact individual mesopelagic fish, the movement of mesopelagic fish from the euphotic zone to deeper waters could mediate transfer of micro- plastics to otherwise unexposed species and regions of the world’s oceans.

pdf Lusher, A. L., et al. (2015). "Microplastics in Arctic polar waters: the first reported values of particles in surface and sub-surface samples." Scientific reports 5. Popular

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Lusher-2015-Microplastics in Arctic polar wate.pdf

Lusher, A. L., et al. (2015). "Microplastics in Arctic polar waters: the first reported values of particles in surface and sub-surface samples." Scientific reports 5.

Plastic, as a form of marine litter, is found in varying quantities and sizes around the globe from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. Identifying patterns of microplastic distribution will benefit an understanding of the scale of their potential effect on the environment and organisms. As sea ice extent is reducing in the Arctic, heightened shipping and fishing activity may increase marine pollution in the area. Microplastics may enter the region following ocean transport and local input, although baseline contamination measurements are still required. Here we present the first study of microplastics in Arctic waters, south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway. Microplastics were found in surface (top 16 cm) and sub-surface (6 m depth) samples using two independent techniques. Origins and pathways bringing microplastic to the Arctic remain unclear. Particle composition (95% fibres) suggests they may either result from the breakdown of larger items (transported over large distances by prevailing currents, or derived from local vessel activity), or input in sewage and wastewater from coastal areas. Concurrent observations of high zooplankton abundance suggest a high probability for marine biota to encounter microplastics and a potential for trophic interactions. Further research is required to understand the effects of microplastic-biota interaction within this productive environment.

pdf Magnusson, K., H. Jörundsdóttir, F. Norén, H. Lloyd, J. Talvitie and O. Setälä (2016). Microlitter in sewage treatment systems : A Nordic perspective on waste water treatment plants as pathways for microscopic anthropogenic particles to marine systems. N Popular

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Magnusson-2016-Microlitter in Sewage Treatment.pdf

Magnusson, K., H. Jörundsdóttir, F. Norén, H. Lloyd, J. Talvitie and O. Setälä (2016). Microlitter in sewage treatment systems : A Nordic perspective on waste water treatment plants as pathways for microscopic anthropogenic particles to marine systems. N

This report describes the results of a two year project called “Microlitter in sewage treatment systems – A Nordic perspective on waste water treatment plants as pathways for microscopic anthropogenic particles to marine systems” funded by the Marine Group (HAV) under the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2014–2015.

The aim of the project was to investigate the significance of effluent water from sewage treatment plants (STPs) as gateway for microliter and other microscopic anthropogenic particles (MAPs) to the marine and aquatic environment. Further, to investigate the occurrence of these par- ticles both in the biotic and abiotic compartment of the receptor. STPs from Sweden, Finland and Iceland with different sewage treatment meth- ods were included in the study. Different SPT treatments were chosen to investigate the importance of sewage treatments on microparticle reten- tion in STPs. The report describes the methods used, results from the STP investigation and the amount of particles found in seawater, sediment and marine organisms in the receptor. Further, the report suggests a harmo- nized definition on particle shape for analyses which is beneficial for the international scientific community in order to facilitate comparison be- tween studies.

pdf Moskeland, T., H. Knutsen, H. P. Arp, Ø. Lilleeng and A. Pettersen (2018). Microplastics in sediments on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. DNV GL No. 2018-0050, rev. 01. Høvik: 86. Popular

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Moskeland-2018-Microplastics in sediments on t.pdf

Moskeland, T., H. Knutsen, H. P. Arp, Ø. Lilleeng and A. Pettersen (2018). Microplastics in sediments on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. DNV GL No. 2018-0050, rev. 01. Høvik: 86.

This study presents sampling and analysis of sediments for microplastics. The sampling area covers large scale geographical areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). The samples have been collected as an extra task during the regional offshore sediment monitoring on the NCS on behalf of the Oil & Gas industry. This study had therefore not been initiated without the good will from Oil & Gas operators, especially Statoil and ConocoPhillips Norway, which allowed use of some additional time during field work to take these samples.

The Norwegian Environment Agency saw this as a good opportunity to acquire knowledge of microplastic abundances from the NCS and therefore funded the project.

The Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) has put in own effort, assisted through the Skattefunn system (Project 266408), the projects FANTOM (RCN, 231736/F20) and JPI Oceans WEATHER-MIC (RCN, Project Grant 257433/E40), for the development of the analytical protocols and execution of the analysis and reporting. Through a relatively short period they have managed to deliver all results. A special thanks to Prof. Hans Peter Arp, Heidi Knutsen, Emma Jane Wade and Arne Petersen for the cooperation and all the work they have put in. Also, a special thanks to Øyvind Lilleeng at NMBU (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) whose substantial contribution to this report was done in partial fulfilment of the Masters Project tentatively entitled “The presence of microplastics on the Norwegian Continental shelf and coast of Havana”.

pdf Obbard (2018). Microplastics in Polar Regions: The role of long range transport Popular

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Obbard-2018-Microplastics in Polar Regions_ Th.pdf

Obbard (2018). Microplastics in Polar Regions: The role of long range transport

Microplastics (particles <5 mm) pose a threat to the marine ecosystem that is disproportionate to their tiny size. They have been found in high numbers in sea water and sediments, and are interacting with organisms and the environment in a variety of ways. Recently their presence has been confirmed in Polar water, sediment, and sea ice. We review the recent literature on microplastic distribution and transport in marine environments, primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, summarize current understanding, identify gaps in understanding, and suggest future research priorities.

pdf Obbard, R. W., et al. (2014). "Global warming releases microplastic legacy frozen in Arctic Sea ice." Earth's Future 2(6): 315-320. Popular

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Obbard-2014-Global warming releases microplast.pdf

Obbard, R. W., et al. (2014). "Global warming releases microplastic legacy frozen in Arctic Sea ice." Earth's Future 2(6): 315-320.

When sea ice forms it scavenges and concentrates particulates from the water column, which then become trapped until the ice melts. In recent years, melting has led to record lows in Arctic Sea ice extent, the most recent in September 2012. Global climate models, such as that of Gregory et al. (2002), suggest that the decline in Arctic Sea ice volume (3.4% per decade) will actually exceed the decline in sea ice extent, something that Laxon et al. (2013) have shown supported by satellite data. The extent to which melting ice could release anthropogenic particulates back to the open ocean has not yet been examined. Here we show that Arctic Sea ice from remote locations contains concentrations of microplastics are several orders of magnitude greater than those that have been previously reported in highly contaminated surface waters, such as those of the Pacific Gyre. Our findings indicate that microplastics have accumulated far from population centers and that polar sea ice represents a major historic global sink of man-made particulates. The potential for substantial quantities of legacy microplastic contamination to be released to the ocean as the ice melts therefore needs to be evaluated, as do the physical and toxicological effects of plastics on marine life.

pdf Setala et al. (2014). Ingestion and transfer of microplastics in the planktonic food web Popular

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Setala-2014-Ingestion and transfer of micropla.pdf

Setala et al. (2014). Ingestion and transfer of microplastics in the planktonic food web

Experiments were carried out with different Baltic Sea zooplankton taxa to scan their potential to ingest plastics. Mysid shrimps, copepods, cladocerans, rotifers, polychaete larvae and ciliates were exposed to 10 mm fluorescent polystyrene microspheres. These experiments showed ingestion of microspheres in all taxa studied. The highest percentage of individuals with ingested spheres was found in pelagic polychaete larvae, Marenzelleria spp. Experiments with the copepod Eurytemora affinis and the mysid shrimp Neomysis integer showed egestion of microspheres within 12 h. Food web transfer experiments were done by offering zooplankton labelled with ingested microspheres to mysid shrimps. Microscopy observations of mysid intestine showed the presence of zooplankton prey and microspheres after 3 h incubation. This study shows for the first time the potential of plastic microparticle transfer via planktonic organisms from one trophic level (mesozooplankton) to a higher level (macrozooplankton). The impacts of plastic transfer and possible accumulation in the food web need further investigations.

pdf Setala et al. (2016). Distribution and abundance of surface water microlitter in the Baltic Sea: A comparison of two sampling methods Popular

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Setala-2016-Distribution and abundance of surf.pdf

Setala et al. (2016). Distribution and abundance of surface water microlitter in the Baltic Sea: A comparison of two sampling methods

Two methods for marine microlitter sampling were compared in the Gulf of Finland, northern Baltic Sea: manta trawl (333 μm) and a submersible pump (300 or 100 μm). Concentrations of microlitter (microplastics, combustion particles, non-synthetic fibres) in the samples collected with both methods and filter sizes remained <-10 particles m−3. The pump with 100 μm filter gave higher microlitter concentrations compared to manta trawl or pump with 300 μm filter. Manta sampling covers larger areas, but is potentially subjected to contamina- tion during sample processing and does not give precise volumetric values. Using a submerged pump allows method controls, use of different filter sizes and gives exact volumetric measures. Both devices need relatively calm weather for operation. The choice of the method in general depends on the aim of the study. For monitoring environmentally relevant size fractions of microlitter the use of 100 μm or smaller mesh size is recommended for the Baltic Sea.

pdf Setala et al. (2016). Feeding type affects microplastic ingestion in a coastal invertebrate community Popular

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Setala-2016-Feeding type affects microplastic.pdf

Setala et al. (2016). Feeding type affects microplastic ingestion in a coastal invertebrate community

Marine litter is one of the problems marine ecosystems face at present, coastal habitats and food webs being the most vulnerable as they are closest to the sources of litter. A range of animals (bivalves, free swimming crustaceans and benthic, deposit-feeding animals), of a coastal community of the northern Baltic Sea were exposed to relatively low concentrations of 10 μm microbeads. The experiment was carried out as a small scale mesocosm study to mimic natural habitat. The beads were ingested by all animals in all experimental concentrations (5, 50 and 250 beads mL−1). Bivalves (Mytilus trossulus, Macoma balthica) contained significantly higher amounts of beads compared with the other groups. Free-swimming crustaceans ingested more beads compared with the benthic animals that were feeding only on the sediment surface. Ingestion of the beads was concluded to be the result of particle concentration, feeding mode and the encounter rate in a patchy environment.

pdf Setala et al. (2017). Microplastics – A growing environmental risk. New business opportunities in combatting microplastics Popular

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Setala-2017-Microplastics – a growing environm.pdf

Setala et al. (2017). Microplastics – A growing environmental risk. New business opportunities in combatting microplastics
No Abstract Available

pdf Sillanpaa et al. (2017). Release of polyester and cotton fibers from textiles in machine washings Popular

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Sillanpaa-2017-Release of polyester and cotton.pdf

Sillanpaa et al. (2017). Release of polyester and cotton fibers from textiles in machine washings

Microplastics are widely spread in the environ- ment, which along with still increasing production have aroused concern of their impacts on environmental health. The objective of this study is to quantify the number and mass of two most common textile fibers discharged from sequential machine washings to sewers. The number and mass of microfibers released from polyester and cotton textiles in the first wash varied in the range 2.1 × 105 to 1.3 × 107 and 0.12 to 0.33% w/w, respectively. Amounts of released microfibers showed a decreasing trend in sequential washes. The annual emission of polyester and cotton microfibers from household washing machines was estimated to be 154,000 (1.0 × 1014) and 411,000 kg (4.9 × 1014) in Finland (population 5.5 × 106). Due to the high emission values and sorption capacities, the polyester and cotton microfibers may play an important role in the transport and fate of chemical pollutants in the aquatic environment.

pdf Tanaka, K., H. Takada, R. Yamashita, K. Mizukawa, M. A. Fukuwaka and Y. Watanuki (2013). Accumulation of plastic-derived chemicals in tissues of seabirds ingesting marine plastics. Mar Pollut Bull, 69(1-2): 219-222 Popular

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Tanaka-2013-Accumulation of plastic-derived ch.pdf

Tanaka, K., H. Takada, R. Yamashita, K. Mizukawa, M. A. Fukuwaka and Y. Watanuki (2013). Accumulation of plastic-derived chemicals in tissues of seabirds ingesting marine plastics. Mar Pollut Bull, 69(1-2): 219-222

We analyzed polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in abdominal adipose of oceanic seabirds (short- tailed shearwaters, Puffinus tenuirostris) collected in northern North Pacific Ocean. In 3 of 12 birds, we detected higher-brominated congeners (viz., BDE209 and BDE183), which are not present in the natural prey (pelagic fish) of the birds. The same compounds were present in plastic found in the stomachs of the 3 birds. These data suggested the transfer of plastic-derived chemicals from ingested plastics to the tis- sues of marine-based organisms.

pdf Trevail, A. M., et al. (2015). “The state of marine microplastic pollution in the Arctic”. Kortrapport/Brief Report No. 033, Norsk Polarinstitutt. Popular

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Trevail-2015-The state of marine microplastic.pdf

Trevail, A. M., et al. (2015). “The state of marine microplastic pollution in the Arctic”. Kortrapport/Brief Report No. 033, Norsk Polarinstitutt.
The problem of global plastic pollution is one of the most visible, and well documented, environmental changes of recent decades. The Arctic region is opening up to increasing commercial activity as sea ice melts, and will become increasingly influenced due to the detrimental effects caused by the trillions of pieces of plastic floating in our world’s oceans today.
Microplastics (< five mm in diameter) can flow directly to the environment undisturbed by waste water treatment plants from applications in cosmetics, for example, or can result from eventual fragmentation of larger plastics. By nature of their small size and ubiquitous presence across different ecosystems, microplastics are available for ingestion by all trophic levels, thus the potential for detrimental effects is substantial. Plastics can transport invasive species and pollutants over long distances, both of which could act as further stressors in the Arctic under climate warming scenarios. Plastic ingestion can disrupt functions of invertebrates, and can transfer a chemical burden to organisms. Population effects of plastic ingestion are largely unknown.
Here we collate and summarise accounts of microplastic pollution in the Arctic. Very little information exists about microplastic pollution in the Arctic. This review found no records for surface trawls in the Arctic, sediment microplastic loads or coastal shore pollution. The only quantitative records that exist are biological records and sea ice records. Microplastic encounters by Arctic animals exist for seven species, of which four are seabirds, two cetaceans and one shark species. From comparative studies with northern fulmars, plastic pollution levels in the European Arctic are higher than expected when compared to lower latitudes, most likely because of water currents. Levels of plastic in sea ice are higher than in the most polluted of oceanic gyres (38 to 234 pieces per m3), and warn of a legacy of plastic that will be released as sea ice melts.
The many gaps in our knowledge of microplastic pollution in the Arctic require further studies. Nevertheless, a lack of information in the region should not be considered as a lack of a problem, and should not hold back any action intending to reduce marine litter in the region.

pdf Van Franeker, OSPAR Commission (2017). Plastic Particles in Fulmar Stomachs in the North Sea Popular

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van Franeker-2017-Plastic Particles in Fulmar.pdf

Van Franeker, OSPAR Commission (2017). Plastic Particles in Fulmar Stomachs in the North Sea

Litter is widespread in the marine environment and is harmful to wildlife and the ecosystem. OSPAR aims to substantially reduce the amount marine litter in the OSPAR Maritime Area by 2020 to levels where properties and quantities do not cause harm to the marine environment. The quantity of plastics ingested by marine wildlife mainly reflects the abundance of floating litter in their environment.

OSPAR monitors and assesses plastics in the stomachs of northern fulmars as one of its indicators of environmental quality. Fulmars are abundant and widespread seabirds known to regularly ingest litter, with nearly all individuals having at least some plastic in their stomachs. Although fulmars forage near the water surface, their stomachs may also contain items from deeper water or items that may be indirectly ingested through their prey.

The fulmar Indicator Assessment approach is based on a previous OSPAR Ecological Quality Objective (EcoQO). The monitoring programme uses corpses of beached birds or individuals accidentally killed. OSPAR has a long-term goal of less than 10% of fulmars exceeding a level of 0.1 g of plastic in their stomachs. Research methods and results have been published in reports and peer-reviewed scientific literature as well as specific OSPAR Guidelines. This indicator is currently used only in the Greater North Sea. However it could be suitable for implementation in Arctic Waters and Celtic Seas and has already been used in fulmar studies outside the OSPAR Maritime Area, in the North Atlantic and North Pacific.

pdf Wieczorek, A. M., L. Morrison, P. L. Croot, A. L. Allcock, E. MacLoughlin, O. Savard, H. Brownlow and T. K. Doyle (2018). Frequency of Microplastics in Mesopelagic Fishes from the Northwest Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5 Popular

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Wieczorek-2018-Frequency of Microplastics in M.pdf

Wieczorek, A. M., L. Morrison, P. L. Croot, A. L. Allcock, E. MacLoughlin, O. Savard, H. Brownlow and T. K. Doyle (2018). Frequency of Microplastics in Mesopelagic Fishes from the Northwest Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5

Microplastics are a ubiquitous pollutant in our seas today and are known to have detrimental effects on a variety of organisms. Over the past decade numerous studies have documented microplastic ingestion by marine species with more recent investigations focussing on the secondary impacts of microplastic ingestion on ecosystem processes. However, few studies so far have examined microplastic ingestion by mesopelagic fish which are one of the most abundant pelagic groups in our oceans and through their vertical migrations are known to contribute significantly to the rapid transport of carbon and nutrients to the deep sea. Therefore, any ingestion of microplastics by mesopelagic fish may adversely affect this cycling and may aid in transport of microplastics from surface waters to the deep-sea benthos. In this study microplastics were extracted from mesopelagic fish under forensic conditions and analysed for polymer type utilising micro-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (micro-FTIR) analysis. Fish specimens were collected from depth (300–600m) in a warm-core eddy located in the Northwest Atlantic, 1,200 km due west of Newfoundland during April and May 2015. In total, 233 fish gut contents from seven different species of mesopelagic fish were examined. An alkaline dissolution of organic materials from extracted stomach contents was performed and the solution filtered over a 0.7μm borosilicate filter. Filters were examined for microplastics and a subsample originating from 35 fish was further analysed for polymer type through micro-FTIR analysis. Seventy-three percent of all fish contained plastics in their gut contents with Gonostoma denudatum having the highest ingestion rate (100%) followed by Serrivomer beanii (93%) and Lampanyctus macdonaldi (75%). Overall, we found a much higher occurrence of microplastic fragments, mainly polyethylene fibres, in the gut contents of mesopelagic fish than previously reported. Stomach fullness, species and the depth at which fish were caught at, were found to have no effect on the amount of microplastics found in the gut contents. However, these plastics were similar to those sampled from the surface water. Additionally, using forensic techniques we were able to highlight that fibres are a real concern rather than an artefact of airborne contamination.

pdf Woodall, L. C., et al. (2014). "The deep sea is a major sink for microplastic debris." Royal Society Open Science 1(4): 140317. Popular

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Woodall-2014-The deep sea is a major sink for.pdf

Woodall, L. C., et al. (2014). "The deep sea is a major sink for microplastic debris." Royal Society Open Science 1(4): 140317.
Marine debris, mostly consisting of plastic, is a global problem, negatively impacting wildlife, tourism and shipping. However, despite the durability of plastic, and the exponential increase in its production, monitoring data show limited evidence of concomitant increasing concentrations in marine habitats. There appears to be a considerable proportion of the manufactured plastic that is unaccounted for in surveys tracking the fate of environmental plastics. Even the discovery of widespread accumulation of microscopic fragments (microplastics) in oceanic gyres and shallow water sediments is unable to explain the missing fraction. Here, we show that deep-sea sediments are a likely sink for microplastics. Microplastic, in the form of fibres, was up to four orders of magnitude more abundant (per unit volume) in deep-sea sediments from the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean than in contaminated sea-surface waters. Our results show evidence for a large and hitherto unknown repository of microplastics. The dominance of microfibres points to a previously underreported and unsampled plastic fraction. Given the vastness of the deep sea and the prevalence of microplastics at all sites we investigated, the deep-sea floor appears to provide an answer to the question—where is all the plastic?
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