Plastic debris in the open ocean

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/563613
Title:
Plastic debris in the open ocean
Authors:
Cozar, Andres; Echevarría, Fidel; Gonzaĺez-Gordillo, Juan Ignácio; Irigoien, Xabier ( 0000-0002-5411-6741 ) ; Úbeda, Bárbara; Hernandez-Leon, Santiago; Palma, Álvaro T.; Navarro, Sandra; García-de-Lomas, Juan; Ruiz, Andrea; Fernández De Puelles, Ma Luz; Duarte, Carlos M. ( 0000-0002-1213-1361 )
Abstract:
There is a rising concern regarding the accumulation of floating plastic debris in the open ocean. However, the magnitude and the fate of this pollution are still open questions. Using data from the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation, regional surveys, and previously published reports, we show a worldwide distribution of plastic on the surface of the open ocean, mostly accumulating in the convergence zones of each of the five subtropical gyres with comparable density. However, the global load of plastic on the open ocean surface was estimated to be on the order of tens of thousands of tons, far less than expected. Our observations of the size distribution of floating plastic debris point at important size-selective sinks removing millimeter-sized fragments of floating plastic on a large scale. This sink may involve a combination of fast nano-fragmentation of the microplastic into particles of microns or smaller, their transference to the ocean interior by food webs and ballasting processes, and processes yet to be discovered. Resolving the fate of the missing plastic debris is of fundamental importance to determine the nature and significance of the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean.
KAUST Department:
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC); Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division; Marine Science Program; Plankton ecology Research Group
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Journal:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue Date:
30-Jun-2014
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1314705111
PubMed ID:
24982135
PubMed Central ID:
PMC4104848
Type:
Article
ISSN:
00278424
Sponsors:
We thank Pakea Bizkaia and the Chilean Navy, which contributed to the sample collection, and K. L. Law, M. C. Goldstein, M. J. Doyle, M. Eriksen, J. Reisser, and their collaborators for their available data. We also thank S. Loiselle and J. Ruiz for his useful suggestions in writing the paper. This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Malaspina 2010 expedition project (Consolider-Ingenio 2010, CSD2008-00077) and the Migrants and Active Flux in the Atlantic Ocean project (CTM2012-39587-C04-01). Original data reported in this paper are freely available at http://metamalaspina.imedea.uib-csic.es/geonetwork. This is Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar (CEIMAR) Publication 58.
Additional Links:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4104848
Appears in Collections:
Articles; Red Sea Research Center (RSRC); Marine Science Program; Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorCozar, Andresen
dc.contributor.authorEchevarría, Fidelen
dc.contributor.authorGonzaĺez-Gordillo, Juan Ignácioen
dc.contributor.authorIrigoien, Xabieren
dc.contributor.authorÚbeda, Bárbaraen
dc.contributor.authorHernandez-Leon, Santiagoen
dc.contributor.authorPalma, Álvaro T.en
dc.contributor.authorNavarro, Sandraen
dc.contributor.authorGarcía-de-Lomas, Juanen
dc.contributor.authorRuiz, Andreaen
dc.contributor.authorFernández De Puelles, Ma Luzen
dc.contributor.authorDuarte, Carlos M.en
dc.date.accessioned2015-08-03T11:55:41Zen
dc.date.available2015-08-03T11:55:41Zen
dc.date.issued2014-06-30en
dc.identifier.issn00278424en
dc.identifier.pmid24982135en
dc.identifier.doi10.1073/pnas.1314705111en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/563613en
dc.description.abstractThere is a rising concern regarding the accumulation of floating plastic debris in the open ocean. However, the magnitude and the fate of this pollution are still open questions. Using data from the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation, regional surveys, and previously published reports, we show a worldwide distribution of plastic on the surface of the open ocean, mostly accumulating in the convergence zones of each of the five subtropical gyres with comparable density. However, the global load of plastic on the open ocean surface was estimated to be on the order of tens of thousands of tons, far less than expected. Our observations of the size distribution of floating plastic debris point at important size-selective sinks removing millimeter-sized fragments of floating plastic on a large scale. This sink may involve a combination of fast nano-fragmentation of the microplastic into particles of microns or smaller, their transference to the ocean interior by food webs and ballasting processes, and processes yet to be discovered. Resolving the fate of the missing plastic debris is of fundamental importance to determine the nature and significance of the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean.en
dc.description.sponsorshipWe thank Pakea Bizkaia and the Chilean Navy, which contributed to the sample collection, and K. L. Law, M. C. Goldstein, M. J. Doyle, M. Eriksen, J. Reisser, and their collaborators for their available data. We also thank S. Loiselle and J. Ruiz for his useful suggestions in writing the paper. This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Malaspina 2010 expedition project (Consolider-Ingenio 2010, CSD2008-00077) and the Migrants and Active Flux in the Atlantic Ocean project (CTM2012-39587-C04-01). Original data reported in this paper are freely available at http://metamalaspina.imedea.uib-csic.es/geonetwork. This is Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar (CEIMAR) Publication 58.en
dc.publisherProceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesen
dc.relation.urlhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4104848en
dc.titlePlastic debris in the open oceanen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)en
dc.contributor.departmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Divisionen
dc.contributor.departmentMarine Science Programen
dc.contributor.departmentPlankton ecology Research Groupen
dc.identifier.journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesen
dc.identifier.pmcidPMC4104848en
dc.contributor.institutionFacultad de Ciencias del Mar Y Ambientales, Universidad de, Cádiz, Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar, E-11510 Puerto Real, Spainen
dc.contributor.institutionAZTI, Arrantza Eta Elikaigintzarako Institutu Teknologikoa, 20110 Pasaia, Spainen
dc.contributor.institutionInstituto de Oceanografía Y Cambio Global, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus Universitario de Tafira, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spainen
dc.contributor.institutionFisioaqua, Las Condes, 6513677 Santiago, Chileen
dc.contributor.institutionDepartamento de Ecología, Universidad de Barcelona, E-08028 Barcelona, Spainen
dc.contributor.institutionPakea Bizkaia, 48990 Getxo, Spainen
dc.contributor.institutionInstituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Baleares, 07015 Palma de Mallorca, Spainen
dc.contributor.institutionDepartment of Global Change Research, Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (, Universidad de Las Islas Baleares-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), 07190 Esporles, Spainen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of Western Australia Oceans Institute University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australiaen
dc.contributor.institutionSchool of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australiaen
dc.contributor.institutionFaculty of Marine Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabiaen
kaust.authorIrigoien, Xabieren

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