Microplastics – Ingestion by Baleen Whales and Their Prey in Coastal Oregon Studied

According to the abstract of a June 26, 2023 Frontiers in Marine Science article https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2023.1201078 by researchers with Oregon State University “… We collected and assessed MP loads in zooplankton prey and fecal samples of gray whales … feeding in coastal Oregon … and produced the first estimates of baleen whale MP consumption rates from empirical data of zooplankton microplastic (MP) loads (i.e., not modeled) ... We extrapolated MP loads in zooplankton prey to estimate the daily MP consumption rates of pregnant and lactating gray whales ... We theorize that gray whales ingest MP via both indirect trophic transfer from their zooplankton prey and directly through indiscriminate consumption of ambient MPs when foraging benthically ... Our results improve the understanding of MP loads in marine ecosystems and highlight the need to assess the health impacts of MP consumption on zooplankton and baleen whales … the high estimated rates of MP consumption by gray whales highlights the need to assess health consequences to individuals and subsequent scaled-up effects on population vital rates …” #MicroPlastics #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #Whales #ZooPlankton @OregonState