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Microplastic abundance, distribution and composition along a latitudinal gradient in the Atlantic Ocean
Kanhai, L.D.K.; Officer, R.; Lyashevska, O.; Thompson, R.C.; O’Connor, I. (2017). Microplastic abundance, distribution and composition along a latitudinal gradient in the Atlantic Ocean. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 115(1-2): 307-314. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.12.025
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X; e-ISSN 1879-3363, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keyword
    Motion > Water motion > Vertical water movement > Upwelling
Author keywords
    Microplastic; Sub-surface waters; Atlantic Ocean; Marine debris

Authors  Top 
  • Kanhai, L.D.K.
  • Officer, R.
  • Lyashevska, O., more
  • Thompson, R.C., more
  • O’Connor, I.

Abstract
    Microplastics in the world's oceans are a global concern due to the potential threat they pose to marine organisms. This study investigated microplastic abundance, distribution and composition in the Atlantic Ocean on a transect from the Bay of Biscay to Cape Town, South Africa. Microplastics were sampled from sub-surface waters using the underway system of the RV Polarstern. Potential microplastics were isolated from samples and FT-IR spectroscopy was used to identify polymer types. Of the particles analysed, 63% were rayon and 37% were synthetic polymers. The majority of microplastics were identified as polyesters (49%) and blends of polyamide or acrylic/polyester (43%). Overall, fibres (94%) were predominant. Average microplastic abundance in the Atlantic Ocean was 1.15 ± 1.45 particles m− 3. Of the 76 samples, 14 were from the Benguela upwelling and there was no statistically significant difference in microplastic abundance between upwelled and non-upwelled sites.

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