An evaluation of surface micro- and mesoplastic pollution in pelagic ecosystems of the Western Mediterranean Sea

Type Article
Date 2015-08
Language English
Author(s) Faur Florian1, 2, Saini Camille1, Potter Gael1, Galgani FrancoisORCID3, de Alencastro Luiz Felippe2, Hagmann Pascal1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Oceaneye Assoc, CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.
2 : Ecole Polytech Fed Lausanne, Cent Environm Lab, EPFL ENAC IIE GR CEL, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
3 : IFREMER, F-20600 Bastia, France.
Source Environmental Science And Pollution Research (0944-1344) (Springer Heidelberg), 2015-08 , Vol. 22 , N. 16 , P. 12190-12197
DOI 10.1007/s11356-015-4453-3
WOS© Times Cited 114
Keyword(s) Plastic debris, Marine pollution, Mediterranean Sea, Surface net tow, Microplastic pollution, Neustonic plastic
Abstract This study examines the distribution, abundance and characteristics of surface micro- and mesoplastic debris in the Western Mediterranean Sea. 41 samples were collected in 2011 (summer) and 2012 (summer). Results, firstly, revealed that micro- (<5mm) and mesoplastic debris were widely and uniformly distributed in this area with average concentrations of 130,000 parts/km(2) and 5700 parts/km(2), respectively. Importantly, a strong correlation between micro- and mesoplastic concentrations was identified. Secondly, a classification based on the shape and appearance of microplastics indicated the predominant presence of fragments (73 %) followed by thin films (14 %). Thirdly, the average mass ratio of microplastic to dry organic matter has been measured at 0.5, revealing a significant presence of microplastics in comparison to plankton. Finally, a correction method was applied in order to correct wind mixing effect on microplastics' vertical distribution. This data allows for a comprehensive view, for the first time, of the spatial distribution and nature of plastic debris in the Western Mediterranean Sea.
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Faur Florian, Saini Camille, Potter Gael, Galgani Francois, de Alencastro Luiz Felippe, Hagmann Pascal (2015). An evaluation of surface micro- and mesoplastic pollution in pelagic ecosystems of the Western Mediterranean Sea. Environmental Science And Pollution Research, 22(16), 12190-12197. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :