Plastic debris is a pervasive and critical environmental challenge that is being described as a world-wide crisis for marine life. Seabirds are sensitive to pollutants and are of critical conservation concern. Because seabirds are excellent bioindicators of marine ecosystem health, information about their plastic ingestion can serve as an indicator of plastic exposure across multiple marine trophic levels. Our study describes the prevalence of plastic ingestion for four seabird species: Great Black-backed Gulls (Larus marinus), Herring Gulls (L. argentatus), Common Terns (Sterna hirundo), and Roseate Terns (S. dougallii) nesting in the Gulf of Maine. Samples were collected opportunistically, including pellets, regurgitant, discarded fish, and deceased seabirds. Plastics were primarily found in pellet samples, and common types included fragments and sheets. Herring Gulls displayed significantly higher plastic exposure than the other three species across all metrics analyzed (p-value


Shoals Marine Laboratory, Data Catalog

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Metadata-LO-Letters-data.pdf (414 kB)
Seabird and Plastic Ingestion Data Set Metadata