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Mar Pollut Bull. 2016 Jun 15;107(1):71-76. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.04.016. Epub 2016 Apr 18.

Plastic ingestion by a generalist seabird on the coast of Uruguay.

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Centro de Investigación y Conservación Marina - CICMAR, Avenida Giannattasio Km 30.5, Canelones 15008, Uruguay; Department of Forestry and Natural Resources & Ecological Sciences and Engineering Program, Purdue University, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States. Electronic address:
Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República (UDELAR), Iguá 4225, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay.
Institute for Global Food Security, Queen's University, Belfast, 18-30 Malone Road, BT9 5BN, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom; Department of Planetology and Habitability, Astrobiology Centre (CSIC-INTA), 28850, Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain.
Centro Universitario Regional Este, Universidad de la República, Maldonado, Uruguay.


We analyzed plastic ingestion by Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) from 806 pellets collected between 2011 and 2013. Employing a Raman spectroscopy, we characterized those polymers used to produce the plastics ingested. Debris was recorded in 143 pellets (%FO=17.7%, n=202, 92.58g). Plastic was found in 119 pellets (%FO=83%) and non-plastic occurred in 56 pellets (%FO=39%). The most important debris category was plastic film with 55.3% (n=79). Plastic bags were observed in 19 pellets (%FO=2.4%, weight=25.02g). Glass was the second most important component (%FO=18.9%) followed by plastic fragments (%FO=17.8%). Plastic debris represented the 65.3% of the debris fragments (n=132, weight=58.84g), and was composed by polyethylene (52%), polypropylene (26%), polyamide (12%), polystyrene (6%), polyvinyl chloride (2%), and polyethylene terephthalate (2%). How plastics were obtained by gulls and the effects on individuals are discussed, as well as environmental considerations about plastic pollution on coastal environments.


Plastic film; Plastic pollution; Seabirds; Synthetic polymers; Uruguay

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