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Marine litter distribution and density in European seas, from the shelves to deep basins

Marine litter distribution and density in European seas, from the shelves to deep basins
Marine litter distribution and density in European seas, from the shelves to deep basins
Anthropogenic litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote points in the oceans. On the seafloor, marine litter, particularly plastic, can accumulate in high densities with deleterious consequences for its inhabitants. Yet, because of the high cost involved with sampling the seafloor, no large-scale assessment of distribution patterns was available to date. Here, we present data on litter distribution and density collected during 588 video and trawl surveys across 32 sites in European waters. We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor. Litter from fishing activities (derelict fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments.
1932-6203
e95839
Pham, Christopher K.
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Ramirez-Llodra, Eva
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Alt, Claudia H.S.
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Amaro, Teresa
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Bergmann, Melanie
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Canals, Miquel
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Company, Joan B.
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Davies, Jaime
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Duineveld, Gerard
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Galgani, François
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Howell, Kerry L.
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Huvenne, Veerle A.I.
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Isidro, Eduardo
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Lastras, Galderic
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Morato, Telmo
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Gomes-Pereira, José Nuno
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Purser, Autun
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Stewart, Heather
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Tojeira, Inês
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Tubau, Xavier
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Van Rooij, David
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Tyler, Paul A.
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Pham, Christopher K.
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Ramirez-Llodra, Eva
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Alt, Claudia H.S.
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Amaro, Teresa
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Bergmann, Melanie
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Canals, Miquel
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Company, Joan B.
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Davies, Jaime
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Duineveld, Gerard
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Galgani, François
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Howell, Kerry L.
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Huvenne, Veerle A.I.
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Isidro, Eduardo
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Jones, Daniel O.B.
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Lastras, Galderic
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Morato, Telmo
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Gomes-Pereira, José Nuno
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Purser, Autun
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Stewart, Heather
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Tojeira, Inês
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Tubau, Xavier
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Van Rooij, David
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Tyler, Paul A.
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Pham, Christopher K., Ramirez-Llodra, Eva, Alt, Claudia H.S., Amaro, Teresa, Bergmann, Melanie, Canals, Miquel, Company, Joan B., Davies, Jaime, Duineveld, Gerard, Galgani, François, Howell, Kerry L., Huvenne, Veerle A.I., Isidro, Eduardo, Jones, Daniel O.B., Lastras, Galderic, Morato, Telmo, Gomes-Pereira, José Nuno, Purser, Autun, Stewart, Heather, Tojeira, Inês, Tubau, Xavier, Van Rooij, David and Tyler, Paul A. (2014) Marine litter distribution and density in European seas, from the shelves to deep basins. PLoS ONE, 9 (4), e95839. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095839).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Anthropogenic litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote points in the oceans. On the seafloor, marine litter, particularly plastic, can accumulate in high densities with deleterious consequences for its inhabitants. Yet, because of the high cost involved with sampling the seafloor, no large-scale assessment of distribution patterns was available to date. Here, we present data on litter distribution and density collected during 588 video and trawl surveys across 32 sites in European waters. We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor. Litter from fishing activities (derelict fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments.

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journal.pone.0095839.pdf - Version of Record
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Published date: April 2014
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biogeochemistry, Marine Geoscience

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 364696
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/364696
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: 66455a18-dd71-485a-aa8c-01590c76b402
ORCID for Veerle A.I. Huvenne: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7135-6360

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Date deposited: 06 May 2014 09:19
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:48

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Contributors

Author: Christopher K. Pham
Author: Eva Ramirez-Llodra
Author: Claudia H.S. Alt
Author: Teresa Amaro
Author: Melanie Bergmann
Author: Miquel Canals
Author: Joan B. Company
Author: Jaime Davies
Author: Gerard Duineveld
Author: François Galgani
Author: Kerry L. Howell
Author: Veerle A.I. Huvenne ORCID iD
Author: Eduardo Isidro
Author: Daniel O.B. Jones
Author: Galderic Lastras
Author: Telmo Morato
Author: José Nuno Gomes-Pereira
Author: Autun Purser
Author: Heather Stewart
Author: Inês Tojeira
Author: Xavier Tubau
Author: David Van Rooij
Author: Paul A. Tyler

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