Plastic debris in great skua (Stercorarius skua) pellets corresponds to seabird prey species

Hammer, S. , Nager, R.G. , Johnson, P.C.D. , Furness, R.W. and Provencher, J.F. (2016) Plastic debris in great skua (Stercorarius skua) pellets corresponds to seabird prey species. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 103(1-2), pp. 206-210. (doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.12.018) (PMID:26763326)

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Abstract

Plastic is a common item in marine environments. Studies assessing seabird ingestion of plastics have focused on species that ingest plastics mistaken for prey items. Few studies have examined a scavenger and predatory species that are likely to ingest plastics indirectly through their prey items, such as the great skua (Stercorarius skua). We examined 1034 regurgitated pellets from a great skua colony in the Faroe Islands for plastics and found approximately 6% contained plastics. Pellets containing remains of Northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) had the highest prevalence of plastic. Our findings support previous work showing that Northern fulmars have higher loads of plastics than other sympatric species. This study demonstrates that marine plastic debris is transferred from surface feeding seabird species to predatory great skuas. Examination of plastic ingestion in species that do not ingest plastics directly can provide insights into how plastic particles transfer vertically within the food web.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Furness, Professor Robert and Johnson, Dr Paul and Hammer, Mr Sjurdur and Nager, Dr Rudolf
Authors: Hammer, S., Nager, R.G., Johnson, P.C.D., Furness, R.W., and Provencher, J.F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Marine Pollution Bulletin
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0025-326X
ISSN (Online):1879-3363
Published Online:04 January 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Marine Pollution Bulletin 103(1-2):206-210
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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