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Three-dimensional distribution of plastic pellets in sandy beaches: shifting paradigms

Grant number: 14/05528-6
Support type:Regular Research Grants - Publications - Scientific article
Duration: April 01, 2014 - September 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal Investigator:Alexander Turra
Grantee:Alexander Turra
Home Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Plastic pellets are worldwide contaminants that accumulate in the ocean, especially in sandy beaches, wheretheir historic standing-stock quantification relies on surface sediment samples. We demonstrated theseparticles present a three-dimensional instead of a simple along-across shore distribution, being found asdeep as 2.0 m, with surface layers accounting for,10% of the total abundance in the sediment column. Thisgradient seemed to be more related to oceanographic rather than anthropic processes, suggesting a generalpattern whose applicability to microplastics and sedimentary environments as a whole should beinvestigated. This poses criticism in the exactness of standing-stock records and demands urgent discussionof sampling protocols. (AU)