[MARMAM] New publication on the ingestion of micro plastics in prey organisms of large whales

Patricia Holm patricia.holm at unibas.ch
Mon May 20 08:43:22 PDT 2019

Dear all

I am pleased to announce the publication of our paper:

P.Burkhardt-Holm & A. N’Guyen: Ingestion of microplastics by fish and other prey organisms of cetaceans, exemplified for two large baleen whale species. Marine Pollution Bulletin 144 (2019) 224–234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.04.068

Knowledge on microplastic (MP) ingestion by cetaceans is difficult to obtain. We infer the potential for MP
uptake by cetaceans from the occurrence of MP in prey species. First, we reviewed information on whale prey
species, focussing on common minke (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and sei whale (B. borealis), for which the most
comprehensive quantitative datasets exist. Second, evidence of MP ingestion by their prey species was reviewed.
We found common minke whales forage opportunistically on fish from various families: Ammodytidae,
Clupeidae, Gadidae, Engraulidae and Osmeridae. Sei whales mostly feed on copepods, Engraulidae, Clupeidae
and Scombridae. High levels of MP contamination are reported for Scombridae in the Atlantic and Engraulidae
in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Copepods exhibit low levels of MP ingestion in the Northeast Pacific Ocean.
Species-specific prey preferences and feeding strategies imply different cetaceans have varied potential for MP
uptake, even if they feed in similar geographic areas.

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Kind regards
Patricia Holm

Patricia Burkhardt-Holm | Professor of Ecology

University of Basel | Department of Enviromental Sciences | Man-Society-Enviroment | https://mgu.unibas.ch/en
Address Vesalgasse 1 | CH-4051 Basel | Switzerland
E-Mail patricia.holm at unibas.ch<mailto:patricia.holm at unibas.ch>
Tel secretary. +41 61 207 04 00 | Tel direct +41 61 207 04 02 | Fax +41 61 207 04 09

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