Evaluating the presence of microplastics in striped dolphins stranded in the Western Mediterranean Sea.
O. Novillo, J.A. Raga, J. Tomás. Evaluating the presence of microplastics in striped dolphins ( Stenella coeruleoalba ) stranded in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin 160 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111557.
Litter is a well-known problem for marine species; however, we still know little about the extent to which they're affected by microplastics. In this study, we analyse the presence of this type of debris in Western Mediterranean striped dolphins' intestinal contents over three decades. Results indicated that frequency was high, as 90.5% of dolphins contained microplastics. Of these microplastics, 73.6% were fibres, 23.87% were fragments and 2.53% were primary pellets. In spite of the high frequency of occurrence, microplastic amount per dolphin was relatively low and highly variable (mean ± SD = 14.9 ± 22.3; 95% CI: 9.58–23.4). Through FT-IR spectrometry, we found that polyacrylamide, typically found in synthetic clothes, was the most common plastic polymer. Here, we establish a starting point for further research on how microplastics affect this species' health and discuss the use of striped dolphins as indicators of microplastics at sea.