Microplastics – Whale Exposure Studied

The abstract of a November 1, 2022, Nature Communications article https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33334-5 by researchers with Stanford University and others states: “… microplastics and microfibers, are ubiquitous in marine food webs. Filter-feeding megafauna may be at extreme risk of exposure to microplastics, but neither the amount nor pathway of microplastic ingestion are well understood. Here, we combine depth-integrated microplastic data … on blue, fin, and humpback whales to quantify plastic ingestion rates and routes of exposure … We predict that fish-feeding whales are less exposed to microplastic ingestion than krill-feeding whales. Per day, a krill-obligate blue whale may ingest 10 million pieces of microplastic, while a fish-feeding humpback whale likely ingests 200,000 pieces of microplastic. For species struggling to recover from historical whaling alongside other anthropogenic pressures, our findings suggest that the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors require further attention …” #MicroPlastics #SingleUsePlastic #PlasticWaste @HopkinsMarine