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Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Nov 15;88(1-2):325-33. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.08.023. Epub 2014 Sep 12.

Microplastic pollution in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean: validated and opportunistic sampling.

Author information

1
Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Galway, Ireland. Electronic address: amy.lusher@research.gmit.ie.
2
Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Galway, Ireland.

Abstract

Levels of marine debris, including microplastics, are largely un-documented in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. Broad scale monitoring efforts are required to understand the distribution, abundance and ecological implications of microplastic pollution. A method of continuous sampling was developed to be conducted in conjunction with a wide range of vessel operations to maximise vessel time. Transects covering a total of 12,700 km were sampled through continuous monitoring of open ocean sub-surface water resulting in 470 samples. Items classified as potential plastics were identified in 94% of samples. A total of 2315 particles were identified, 89% were less than 5mm in length classifying them as microplastics. Average plastic abundance in the Northeast Atlantic was calculated as 2.46 particles m(-3). This is the first report to demonstrate the ubiquitous nature of microplastic pollution in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and to present a potential method for standardised monitoring of microplastic pollution.

KEYWORDS:

Continuous monitoring; Fibres; Neuston; Plastic; Sub-surface

PMID:
25224764
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.08.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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