[MARMAM] New publication on methodological efficiency of microplastic investigation in seals from German waters

Philipp, Carolin Carolin.Philipp at tiho-hannover.de
Mon Dec 21 05:44:29 PST 2020

Dear all,

on behalf of all my co-authors, we are happy to share our latest publication in the Journal Sustainability with the title:

Handle with Care - Microplastic Particles in Intestine Samples of Seals from German waters

Philipp, C.; Unger B.; Fischer, E.K.; Schnitzler, J.G.; Siebert, U.


The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) aims to reduce the marine debris burden in the marine environment by 2020. This requires an assessment of the actual situation, which includes the occurrence as well as the caused impacts. Information on both is scarce when it comes to top predators like marine mammals and the burden of microplastic. This is hampered by the limited access to free ranging marine mammals for collecting samples, as well as sample handling. The present study investigated gastrointestinal tracts and faecal samples of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) regularly occurring in the German North Sea and Baltic Sea with the aim of gaining information on the occurrence of microplastics. In total, 255 particles ≥100 µm (70 fibres, 185 fragments) were found in exemplary ten intestine and nine faecal samples. The findings ranged from zero fibres and six fragments, up to 35 fibres and 55 fragments per sample. Additionally, this study established a protocol for sample handling, microplastic isolation (≥100 µm) and quantification of gastrointestinal tracts and faecal samples of marine mammals with a low share of contamination. This approach helps to quantify the presence of microplastics in free-ranging marine mammals and is therefore applicable to assess the real burden of microplastic presence in the marine environment.

The article is open access and freely available at https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/24/10424

Please, feel free to get in contact with us, if you have any questions regarding our study.

We would like to wish you all healthy and jolly Christmas holidays.

Kind regards,

Carolin Philipp
M.Sc. Carolin Philipp
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW)
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation
Werftstr. 6 / 25761 Büsum / Germany

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