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The lifespan of ingested plastic particles in seabirds and their effect on digestive efficiency
Ryan, P.G.; Jackson, S. (1987). The lifespan of ingested plastic particles in seabirds and their effect on digestive efficiency. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 18(5): 217-219
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Digestion; Digestive system; Marine pollution; Particles; Plastics; Procellaria aequinoctialis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ryan, P.G.
  • Jackson, S.

Abstract
    The assimilation efficiencies of fledgling Whitechinned Petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis artifically fed large quantities of plastic particles were assessed. No significant differences were detected in either assimilation efficiency or the rate of mass loss between experimental and control birds. Polyethylene pellets lost 1% of their mass after 12 days in the experimental birds' stomachs, suggesting a half-life of at least one year. No instances of plastic causing intestinal obstruction, and few cases of physical damage to the stomach lining, were found in over 400 individuals of 25 species of seabirds containing ingested plastic. These results suggest ingested plastic seldom impairs digestive efficiency in seabirds.

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