A near-synoptic survey of ocean microplastic concentration along an around-the-world sailing race.

Tanhua, Toste , Gutekunst, Sören B. and Biastoch, Arne (2020) A near-synoptic survey of ocean microplastic concentration along an around-the-world sailing race. Open Access PLoS ONE, 15 (12). Art.Nr. e0243203. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0243203.

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Abstract

Litter and plastic pollution in the marine environment is of major concern when considering the health of ocean ecosystems, and have become an important focus of ocean research during recent years. There is still significant uncertainty surrounding the distribution and impact of marine plastic litter on ocean ecosystems, and in particular on the nano- and microplastic fractions that are difficult to observe and may be harmful to marine organisms. Current estimates of ocean plastic concentrations only account for a small fraction of the approximated 8 million tons of plastic litter entering the oceans on an annual basis. Here, we present the distribution of 100–500 μm microplastic particles within the ocean mixed layer, covering a significant fraction of the ocean, in a near-synoptic survey. During The Ocean Race 2017/2018 edition (formerly known as Volvo Ocean Race), two yachts served as ships of opportunity that regularly took samples of microplastics on a regular schedule during their circumnavigation. This effort resulted in information on microplastic distribution along the race track in the ocean’s upper, well-mixed, layer. We found concentrations ranging from 0–349 particles per cubic meter, but with large spatial variability. There was a tendency toward higher concentrations off south-western Europe and in the southwest Pacific, and indications of long-range transport of microplastic with major ocean currents.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: SDG 14; microplastic; Oceans; Polymers; High performance liquid chromatography; Marine ecosystems; Marine environments; Plastics; Lasers; Sea water;
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-OD Ocean Dynamics
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243203
ISSN: 1932-6203
Related URLs:
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2020 09:20
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2021 12:48
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/51329

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