Seasonal variability in vulnerability for Cassin's auklets (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) exposed to microplastic pollution in the Canadian Pacific region

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  • Patrick D. O'Hara, Environm & Climate Change Canada, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Canadian Wildlife Serv, Inst Ocean Sci
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  • Stephanie Avery-Gomm, Univ Queensland, University of Queensland, Ctr Excellence Environm Decis, Australian Res Council
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  • Jocelyn Wood, Nat Conservancy Canada
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  • Victoria Bowes, BC Minist Agr, Anim Hlth Ctr
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  • Laurie Wilson, Environm & Climate Change Canada, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Canadian Wildlife Serv, Pacific Wildlife Res Ctr
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  • Ken H. Morgan, Environm & Climate Change Canada, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Canadian Wildlife Serv, Inst Ocean Sci
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  • W. Sean Boyd, Environm & Climate Change Canada, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, Sci & Technol Branch, Pacific Wildlife Res Ctr
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  • J. Mark Hipfner, Environm & Climate Change Canada, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre, Sci & Technol Branch, Pacific Wildlife Res Ctr
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  • Jean-Pierre Desforges
  • Douglas F. Bertram, Environm & Climate Change Canada, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Sci & Technol Branch, Inst Ocean Sci
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  • Charles Hannah, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Ocean Sci Div, Inst Ocean Sci
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  • Peter S. Ross, Fisheries and Oceans, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Sci Ctr, Ocean Pollut Res Program, Ocean Wise Conservat Assoc, Coastal Ocean Res Inst, Canada
Marine plastic pollution is an emerging global conservation challenge, potentially impacting organisms at all trophic levels. However, currently it is unclear to what extent plastic pollution is impacting marine organisms at the population, species or multispecies level. In this study, we explore seasonal exposure (i.e., vulnerability) of Cassin's Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) to plastic pollution with exposure models during boreal summer and winter seasons. Based on these models, we infer exposure at the population level for this species, in the Canadian Pacific region where approximately 75% of the global population of this species breeds. The models quantify plastic exposure by determining seasonal core foraging areas and plastic concentrations found in those same areas. Core foraging areas were determined using a Generalized Additive Model based on at-sea observation data (collected year round: 1990–2010) and 50% Home Range Kernels based on aerial telemetry data (May and June 1999–2001). Plastic concentrations within these core areas were interpolated based on seawater microplastic concentrations from the summer of 2012. We found that during the boreal summer, Cassin's Auklets were exposed to relatively low concentrations of plastics. During the winter, auklet distribution shifted towards the coast where plastic concentrations are considerably higher. Model derived seasonal variability in exposure was consistent with necropsy results from bird carcasses recovered during the winter of 2014, and from a multiyear study on chick provisioning during the summer. Local oceanography likely plays a role in determining seasonal shifts in both marine bird as well microplastic concentrations, and hence exposure. As well, individual sensitivity (i.e., dose-dependent effect) may vary with annual cycles. Currently, research is focusing on determining how sensitive individual birds are to microplastic concentrations, and our models will help translate sensitivity found at the individual level to potential impacts at population or species level.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftScience of the Total Environment
Vol/bind649
Sider (fra-til)50-60
Antal sider11
ISSN0048-9697
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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