Occurrence of microplastics in surface waters of the Gulf of Lion (NW Mediterranean Sea)

Type Article
Date 2018-04
Language English
Author(s) Schmidt Natascha1, Thibault Delphine1, 2, Galgani FrancoisORCID3, Paluselli Andrea1, Sempere Richard1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Aix Marseille Univ, Univ Toulon, CNRS, IRD,MIO, Marseille, France.
2 : MARBEC, IRD, LMI ICEMASA, Cape Town, South Africa.
3 : IFREMER, LER PAC, F-20600 Bastin, France.
Source Progress In Oceanography (0079-6611) (Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd), 2018-04 , Vol. 163 , P. 214-220
DOI 10.1016/j.pocean.2017.11.010
WOS© Times Cited 112
Keyword(s) Marine litter, Microplastic, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Lion, Marseille Bay

Between 2014 and 2016 a total of 43 microplastic samples were collected at six sampling stations in the eastern section of the Gulf of Lion (located in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea), as well as upstream of the Rhône River. Microplastics were found in every sample with highly variable concentrations and masses. Concentrations ranged from 6 · 103 items km−2 to 1 · 106 items km−2 (with an average of 112 · 103 items km−2), and mass ranged from 0.30 g km−2 to 1018 g km−2 DW (mean 61.92 ± 178.03 g km−2). The samples with the highest and lowest microplastic count originate both from the Bay of Marseille. For the Bay of Marseille, it is estimated that the total microplastic load consist of 519 · 103 –101 · 106 items weighing 0.07–118 kg. Estimations for daily microplastic transport by the Northern Current and the Rhône River, two important hydrologic features of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, range from 0.18 to 86.46 t and from 0.20 to 21.32 kg, respectively. Particles < 1 mm2 clearly dominated sampling stations in the Northern Current, the Rhône River and its plume (52, 53 and 61%, respectively), suggesting a long exposure time in the environment. Items between 1 mm2 and 5 mm2 in size were the most abundant microplastics in Marseille Bay (55%), which suggests coastal pollution sources or the removal of smaller particles from surface waters e.g. by ballasting owing to the presence of epibionts.

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