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Mar Environ Res. 2014 Sep;100:17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2014.02.002. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

Large filter feeding marine organisms as indicators of microplastic in the pelagic environment: the case studies of the Mediterranean basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

Author information

1
Department of Physical, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy. Electronic address: fossi@unisi.it.
2
Department of Physical, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy.
3
Department of Physical, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy; Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, Via A. Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy.
4
MedSharks, Via Ruggero Fauro 82, 00197 Rome, Italy.
5
MedSharks, Via Ruggero Fauro 82, 00197 Rome, Italy; CTS, via Albalonga 3, 00183 Roma, Italy.

Abstract

The impact of microplastics (plastic fragments smaller than 5 mm) on large filter feeding marine organisms such as baleen whales and sharks are largely unknown. These species potentially are ingesting micro-litter by filter feeding activity. Here we present the case studies of the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) and basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) exploring the toxicological effects of microplastics in these species measuring the levels of phthalates in both species. The results show higher concentration of MEHP in the muscle of basking shark in comparison to fin whale blubber. These species can be proposed as indicators of microplastics in the pelagic environment in the implementation of Descriptor 8 and 10 of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

KEYWORDS:

Basking shark; Fin whale; Mediterranean Sea; Microplastic; Organochlorines; Phthalates

PMID:
24612776
DOI:
10.1016/j.marenvres.2014.02.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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