Ingestion of plastic marine debris by Common and Thick-billed Murres in the northwestern Atlantic from 1985 to 2012

Alexander L. Bond, Jennifer F. Provencher, Richard D. Elliot, Pierre C. Ryan, Sherrylynn Rowe, Ian L. Jones, Gregory J. Robertson, Sabina I. Wilhelm

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    36 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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 Here, we combined previously unpublished data on plastic ingestion (from the 1980s to the 1990s) with contemporary samples (2011-2012) to evaluate changes in murres' plastic ingestion.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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)192-195
    Number of pages4
    JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
    Volume77
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2013

    Keywords

    • Atlantic
    • Common Murre
    • Newfoundland
    • Thick-billed Murre
    • Uria aalge
    • Uria lomvia

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