[MARMAM] New publication on plastic debris in Sperm whales

Joan Giménez Verdugo joan.gimenez at csic.es
Tue Mar 12 09:37:07 PDT 2013


Dear MARMAM members,


We are pleased to announce that a new publication on plastic debris in
Sperm whales is now available in Marine Pollution Bulletin.


De Stephanis, R., Giménez, J., Carpinelli, E., Gutierrez-Expósito, C.,
Cañadas, A. (2013) As main meal for sperm whales: Plastics debris. Mar.
Pollut. Bull.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.01.033

Abstract:
Marine debris has been found in marine animals since the early 20th
century, but little is known about the impacts of the ingestion of debris
in large marine mammals. In this study we describe a case of mor-tality of
a sperm whale related to the ingestion of large amounts of marine debris in
the Mediterranean Sea (4th published case worldwide to our knowledge), and
discuss it within the context of the spatial dis-tribution of the species
and the presence of anthropogenic activities in the area that could be the
source of the plastic debris found inside the sperm whale. The spatial
distribution modelled for the species in the region shows that these
animals can be seen in two distinct areas: near the waters of Almería,
Granada and Murcia and in waters near the Strait of Gibraltar. The results
shows how these animals feed in waters near an area completely flooded by
the greenhouse industry, making them vulnerable to its waste prod-ucts if
adequate treatment of this industry’s debris is not in place. Most types of
these plastic materials have been found in the individual examined and
cause of death was presumed to be gastric rupture fol-lowing impaction with
debris, which added to a previous problem of starvation. The problem of
plastics arising from greenhouse agriculture should have a relevant section
in the conservation plans and should be a recommendation from ACCOBAMS due
to these plastics’ and sperm whales’ high mobility in the Mediterranean Sea.



Best regards,


*Joan Giménez Verdugo*
*Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)
Applied Marine Ecology Group (GEMA)
*
*Department of Conservation Biology*
Avenida Americo Vespucio s/n
41092 Sevilla
Mail: joan.gimenez at csic.es
Phone: 619176849
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