The quest for seafloor macrolitter: a critical review of background knowledge, current methods and future prospects

Type Article
Date 2021-02
Language English
Author(s) Canals Miquel1, Pham Christopher K.2, Bergmann Melanie3, Gutow Lars3, Hanke Georg4, Van Sebille Erik5, Angiolillo Michela6, 7, Buhl-Mortensen Lene8, Cau Alessando9, Ioakeimidis Christos10, Kammann Ulrike11, Lundsten Lonny12, Papatheodorou George13, Purser Autun3, Sanchez-Vidal Anna1, Schulz Marcus14, Vinci Matteo15, Chiba Sanae16, Galgani FrancoisORCID17, Langenkämper Daniel18, Möller Tiia19, Nattkemper Tim W.18, Ruiz Marta20, Suikkanen Sanna21, Woodall Lucy22, Fakiris Elias13, Molina Jack Maria Eugenia15, Giorgetti Alessandra15
Affiliation(s) 1 : Departament de Dinàmica de la Terra i de l'Oceà, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, SPAIN
2 : Universidade dos Açores Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas, Horta, Ilha do Faial, PORTUGAL
3 : Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum fur Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Bremen, GERMANY
4 : European Commission Joint Research Centre Ispra Sector, Ispra, 21027, ITALY
5 : University of Utrecht Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht, Utrecht, NETHERLANDS
6 : BIO-HBT, Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale, Via Vitaliano Brancati 60, Roma, 00144, ITALY
7 : Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (SZN), Via Po 25, 00198 Rome, Italy
8 : Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Hordaland, NORWAY
9 : Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardegna, ITALY
10 : United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan, Athens, Attica, GREECE
11 : Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, Bremerhaven, GERMANY
12 : Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California, UNITED STATES
13 : Department of Geology, University of Patras, Patra, Periféria Dhitikís Elládh, GREECE
14 : Universität Osnabrück, Osnabruck, Niedersachsen, GERMANY
15 : Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e Geofisica Sperimentale, Sgonico, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ITALY
16 : Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, JAPAN
17 : Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), Bastia, FRANCE
18 : Bielefeld University Faculty of Technology, Bielefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, GERMANY
19 : University of Tartu, Tartu, Tartumaa, ESTONIA
20 : Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, Helsinki, FINLAND
21 : Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, FINLAND
Source Environmental Research Letters (1748-9326) (IOP Publishing), 2021-02 , Vol. 16 , N. 2 , P. 023001 (30p.)
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/abc6d4
WOS© Times Cited 57
Keyword(s) seafloor, marine litter, trawl surveys, visual surveys, deep sea, modelling, data harmonisation

The seafloor covers some 70% of the Earth's surface and has been recognized as a major sink for marine litter. Still, litter on the seafloor is the least investigated fraction of marine litter, which is not surprising as most of it lies in the deep sea, i.e. the least explored ecosystem. Although marine litter is considered a major threat for the oceans, monitoring frameworks are still being set up. This paper reviews current knowledge and methods, identifies existing needs, and points to future developments that are required to address the estimation of seafloor macrolitter. It provides background knowledge and conveys the views and thoughts of scientific experts on seafloor marine litter offering a review of monitoring and ocean modeling techniques. Knowledge gaps that need to be tackled, data needs for modeling, and data comparability and harmonization are also discussed. In addition, it shows how research on seafloor macrolitter can inform international protection and conservation frameworks to prioritize efforts and measures against marine litter and its deleterious impacts.

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Canals Miquel, Pham Christopher K., Bergmann Melanie, Gutow Lars, Hanke Georg, Van Sebille Erik, Angiolillo Michela, Buhl-Mortensen Lene, Cau Alessando, Ioakeimidis Christos, Kammann Ulrike, Lundsten Lonny, Papatheodorou George, Purser Autun, Sanchez-Vidal Anna, Schulz Marcus, Vinci Matteo, Chiba Sanae, Galgani Francois, Langenkämper Daniel, Möller Tiia, Nattkemper Tim W., Ruiz Marta, Suikkanen Sanna, Woodall Lucy, Fakiris Elias, Molina Jack Maria Eugenia, Giorgetti Alessandra (2021). The quest for seafloor macrolitter: a critical review of background knowledge, current methods and future prospects. Environmental Research Letters, 16(2), 023001 (30p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :