Microplastic study reveals the presence of natural and synthetic fibres in the diet of King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) foraging from South Georgia

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dc.contributor.author Le Guen C.
dc.contributor.author Suaria G.
dc.contributor.author Sherley R.
dc.contributor.author Aliani S.
dc.contributor.author Boehme L.
dc.contributor.author Ryan P.G.
dc.contributor.author Brierley A.
dc.date.accessioned 2020-01-30T09:42:10Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11201/150736
dc.description.abstract [eng] Marine ecosystems are experiencing substantial disturbances due to climate change and overfishing, and plastic pollution is an additional growing threat. Microfibres are among the most pervasive pollutants in the marine environment, including in the Southern Ocean. However, evidence for microfibre contamination in the diet of top predators in the Southern Ocean is rare. King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) feed on mesopelagic fish, which undergo diel vertical migrations towards the surface at night. Microfibres are concentrated in surface waters and sediments but can also be concentrated in fish, therefore acting as contamination vectors for diving predators feeding at depth. In this study, we investigate microfibre contamination of King Penguin faecal samples collected in February and March 2017 at South Georgia across three groups: incubating, chick-rearing and non-breeding birds. After a KOH digestion to dissolve the organic matter and a density separation step using a NaCl solution, the samples were filtered to collect microfibres. A total of 77% of the penguin faecal samples (36 of 47) contained microfibres. Fibres were measured and characterized using Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy to determine their polymeric identity. Most fibres (88%) were made of natural cellulosic materials (e.g. cotton, linen), with only 12% synthetic (e.g. polyester, nylon) or semi-synthetic (e.g. rayon). An average of 21.9 ± 5.8 microfibres g−1 of faeces (lab dried mass) was found, with concentrations more than twice as high in incubating penguins than in penguins rearing chicks. Incubating birds forage further north at the Antarctic Polar Front and travel longer distances from South Georgia than chick-rearing birds. This suggests that long-distance travelling penguins are probably more exposed to the risk of ingesting microfibres when feeding north of the Antarctic Polar Front, which might act as a semi-permeable barrier for microfibres. Microfibres could therefore provide a signature for foraging location in King Penguins.
dc.format application/pdf
dc.relation.isformatof Versió postprint del document publicat a: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.105303
dc.relation.ispartof Environment International, 2019, vol. 134, num. 105303, p. 1-9
dc.subject.classification Medi ambient
dc.subject.classification 59 - Zoologia
dc.subject.other Environment
dc.subject.other 59 - Zoology
dc.title Microplastic study reveals the presence of natural and synthetic fibres in the diet of King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) foraging from South Georgia
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/acceptedVersion
dc.date.updated 2020-01-30T09:42:11Z
dc.date.embargoEndDate info:eu-repo/date/embargoEnd/2026-12-31
dc.embargo 2026-12-31
dc.rights.accessRights info:eu-repo/semantics/embargoedAccess
dc.identifier.doi https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.105303

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