UBC Undergraduate Research

The effects of plastic debris and toxins on Black-­footed and Laysan albatross in the North Pacific Mang, Shari

Abstract

Plastic and toxins have a negative impact on the health and reproductive success of Black-footed and Laysan albatross birds breeding on islands in the Hawaiian Island chain. These islands lie within the North Pacific Gyre, which, due to its circulation patterns, accumulates massive amounts of plastic. Since plastics are permeable, lipophilic structures, they are able to absorb and accumulate pollutants with ease. Albatross are exposed to these toxins either through direct consumption of contaminated plastic or via bioaccumulation. Ingestion of this pollution can negatively impact feeding habits, fitness, fat deposition, and embryo and chick development. Varying affects from both plastic and toxins have been found depending on the foraging ranges, feeding habits, and trophic levels of the seabirds. Although plastic and toxin accumulation within both Black-footed and Laysan albatrosses has been shown to negatively impact their health and fitness, the mortality rates and impact on population success is still unclear.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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