Imhof, HK; Sigl, R; Brauer, E; Feyl, S; Giesemann, P; Klink, S; Leupolz, K; Löder, MGJ; Löschel, L; Missun, J; Muszynski, S; Ramsperger, A F R M; Schrank, I; Speck, S; Steibl, S; Trotter, B; Winter, I; Laforsch, C: Spatial and temporal variation of macro-, meso- and microplastic abundance on a remote coral island of the Maldives, Indian Ocean, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 116(1-2), 340-347 (2017), online: 2017-01-18, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.01.010
Key words: Microplastic; Plastic debris; Island; Remote; Indian Ocean
Abstract:

Plastic debris is ubiquitous in the marine environment and the world's shores represent a major sink. However, knowledge about plastic abundance in remote areas is scarce. Therefore, plastic abundance was investigated on a small island of the Maldives. Plastic debris (> 1 mm) was sampled once in natural long-term accumulation zones at the north shore and at the high tide drift line of the south shore on seven consecutive days to quantify daily plastic accumulation. Reliable identification of plastic debris was ensured by FTIR spectroscopy. Despite the remoteness of the island a considerable amount of plastic debris was present. At both sites a high variability in plastic abundance on a spatial and temporal scale was observed, which may be best explained by environmental factors. In addition, our results show that snapshot sampling may deliver biased results and indicate that future monitoring programs should consider spatial and temporal variation of plastic deposition.

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