Negligible Impact of Ingested Microplastics on Tissue Concentrations of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Northern Fulmars off Coastal Norway

The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is defined as an indicator species of plastic pollution by the Oslo-Paris Convention (OSPAR) for the North-East Atlantic, but few data exist for fulmars from Norway. Moreover, the relationship between uptake of plastic and pollutants in seabirds is poorly understood. We analysed samples of fulmars from Norwegian waters and compared the POP concentrations in their liver and muscle tissue with the corresponding concentrations in the loads of ingested plastic in their stomachs, grouped as ‘no’, ‘medium’ (0.01 – 0.21 g; 1 – 14 pieces of plastic) or ‘high’ (0.11 – 0.59 g; 15 – 106 pieces of plastic). POP concentrations in the plastic did not differ significantly between the high and medium plastic ingestion group for sumPCBs, sumDDTs and sumPBDEs. By combining correlations among POP concentrations, differences in tissue concentrations of POPs between plastic ingestion subgroups, fugacity calculations and bioaccumulation modeling, we showed that plastic is more likely to act as a passive sampler than as a vector of POPs, thus reflecting the POP profiles of simultaneously ingested prey.

Dorte Herzke, Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Therese Haugdahl Nøst, Arntraut Götsch, Signe Christensen-Dalsgaard, Magdalene Langset , Kirstin Fangel, and Albert Aart Koelmans, Environ. Sci. Technol., Just Accepted Manuscript, December 22, 2015
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