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Title

As main meal for sperm whales: Plastics debris

Authorsde Stephanis, Renaud ; Giménez, Joan ; Carpinelli, Eva; Gutiérrez-Expósito, Carlos; Cañadas, Ana
KeywordsMarine debris
Greenhouse
plastic
sperm whale
spatial modelling
Mediterranean sea
Issue Date2013
PublisherElsevier
CitationMarine Pollution Bulletin, 60:206-214 (2013)
AbstractMarine debris has been found in marine animals since the early 20th century, but little is known about the impacts of the ingestion of debris in large marine mammals. In this study we describe a case of mor- tality of a sperm whale related to the ingestion of large amounts of marine debris in the Mediterranean Sea (4th published case worldwide to our knowledge), and discuss it within the context of the spatial dis- tribution of the species and the presence of anthropogenic activities in the area that could be the source of the plastic debris found inside the sperm whale. The spatial distribution modelled for the species in the region shows that these animals can be seen in two distinct areas: near the waters of Almería, Granada and Murcia and in waters near the Strait of Gibraltar. The results shows how these animals feed in waters near an area completely flooded by the greenhouse industry, making them vulnerable to its waste prod- ucts if adequate treatment of this industry’s debris is not in place. Most types of these plastic materials have been found in the individual examined and cause of death was presumed to be gastric rupture fol- lowing impaction with debris, which added to a previous problem of starvation. The problem of plastics arising from greenhouse agriculture should have a relevant section in the conservation plans and should be a recommendation from ACCOBAMS due to these plastics’ and sperm whales’ high mobility in the Mediterranean Sea.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.01.033
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/75929
DOI10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.01.033
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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