CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Emu   
  A Journal of BirdLife Australia
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Research Fronts
Rowley Reviews
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Awards and Prizes
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

red arrow Complete Archive
blank image
With the complete digital archive of Emu now online, we have selected some of the most interesting and significant papers for readers to access freely.

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with BirdLife
blank image
facebook TwitterIcon LinkedIn

red arrow Connect with CP
blank image
facebook twitter LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 111(3)

Intergenerational transfer of plastic debris by Short-tailed Shearwaters (Ardenna tenuirostris)

Mark J. Carey

Department of Environmental Management and Ecology, La Trobe University, Wodonga, VIC 3690, Australia. Email: markcarey82@hotmail.com

Emu 111(3) 229-234 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU10085
Submitted: 23 November 2010  Accepted: 17 January 2011   Published: 24 August 2011

 Full Text
 PDF (274 KB)
 Export Citation

Pollution of the world’s oceans affects a wide variety of marine organisms and raises major conservation concerns. Ingestion of plastic debris has increased since the 1970s, particularly among the Procellariiformes, resulting in a range of lethal and sub-lethal side effects. Plastic loads (grams of plastic per bird) of adult Short-tailed Shearwaters (Ardenna tenuirostris) are well known from research in the northern hemisphere, but the amount of plastic ingested by their offspring has yet to be quantified. In this study, the stomach contents of fledgling Short-tailed Shearwaters on Phillip Island, Victoria, were analysed for plastic particles. All birds sampled contained plastic, averaging 7.6 particles per bird. The mean mass of plastic per bird was 113 mg. The most common type of plastic was user plastic, followed by industrial pellets. The birds contained a small proportion of other refuse, such as polystyrene and plastic bag. Plastics were primarily light in colour, though red and grey-black materials were also recorded. Despite a weak trend, no clear influence of ingested plastic on body condition could be demonstrated, although there was some evidence of physical damage to the gizzard. Accumulation of plastic objects in the digestive tract over time may indirectly affect the life cycle of species and their reproductive success, with long-term harm caused to populations. Data suggests that an assessment of the effect of this type of pollution on seabird welfare is urgently required.

Additional keywords: plastic pollution, marine debris, seabirds, shearwater.


Arnould, J. P. Y., and Croxall, J. P. (1995). Trends in entanglement of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) in man-made debris at South Georgia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 30, 707–712.
CrossRef | CAS |

Auman, H. J., Ludwig, J. P., Giesy, J. P., and Colborn, T. (1997). Plastic ingestion by Laysan Albatross chicks on Sand Island, Midway Atoll, in 1994 and 1995. In ‘Albatross Biology and Conservation’. (Eds G. Robinson and R. Gales.) pp. 239–244. (Surrey Beatty & Sons: Sydney.)

Auman, H. J., Woehler, E. J., Riddle, M. J., and Burton, H. (2004). First evidence of ingestion of plastic debris by seabirds at sub-Antarctic Heard Island. Marine Ornithology 32, 105–106.

Baird, R. W., and Hooker, S. K. (2000). Ingestion of plastic and unusual prey by a juvenile Harbour Porpoise. Marine Pollution Bulletin 40, 719–720.
CrossRef | CAS |

Baker, G. B., Gales, R., Hamilton, S., and Wilkinson, V. (2002). Albatrosses and petrels in Australia: a review of their conservation and management. Emu 102, 71–97.
CrossRef |

Barreiros, J. P., and Barcelos, J. (2001). Plastic ingestion by a Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea from the Azores (NE Atlantic). Marine Pollution Bulletin 42, 1196–1197.
CrossRef | CAS |

Blight, L. K., and Burger, A. E. (1997). Occurrence of plastic particles in seabirds from the eastern North Pacific. Marine Pollution Bulletin 34, 323–325.
CrossRef | CAS |

Bond, A. L., and Lavers, J. L. (2010). Trace element concentrations in feathers of Flesh-footed Shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) from across their breeding range. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology , .
CrossRef |

Bugoni, L., Krause, L., and Petry, M. V. (2001). Marine debris and human impacts on sea turtles in southern Brazil. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42, 1330–1334.
CrossRef | CAS |

Burger, J., and Gochfeld, M. (2004). Marine birds as sentinels of environmental pollution. EcoHealth 1, 263–274.
CrossRef |

Cadée, G. C. (2002). Seabirds and floating plastic debris. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44, 1294–1295.
CrossRef |

Colabuono, F. I., Barquete, V., Domingues, B. S., and Montone, R. C. (2009). Plastic ingestion by Procellariiformes in southern Brazil. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58, 93–96.
CrossRef | CAS |

Colabuono, F. I., Taniguchi, S., and Montone, R. C. (2010). Polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in plastics ingested by seabirds. Marine Pollution Bulletin 60, 630–634.
CrossRef | CAS |

Copley, P. B. (1996). The status of seabirds in South Australia. In ‘The Status of Australia’s Seabirds’. (Eds G. Ross, K. Weaver and J. Greig.) pp. 139–180. (Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia: Canberra.)

Day, R. H. (1980). The occurrence and characteristics of plastic pollution in Alaska’s marine birds. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Derraik, J. G. B. (2002). The pollution of the marine environment by plastic debris: a review. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44, 842–852.
CrossRef | CAS |

Furness, R. W. (1985). Ingestion of plastic particles by seabirds at Gough Island, South Atlantic Ocean. Environmental Pollution 38, 261–272.
CrossRef |

Hartwig, E., Clemens, T., and Heckroth, M. (2007). Plastic debris as nesting material in a Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) colony at the Jammerbugt, Northwest Denmark. Marine Pollution Bulletin 54, 595–597.
CrossRef | CAS |

Hedd, A., and Gales, R. (2001). The diet of Shy Albatrosses (Thalassarche cauta) at Albatross Island, Tasmania. Journal of Zoology 253, 69–90.
CrossRef |

Hutton, I., Carlile, N., and Priddel, D. (2008). Plastic ingestion by Flesh-footed Shearwaters, Puffinus carneipes, and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Puffinus pacificus. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 142, 67–72.

Mallory, M. L. (2008). Marine plastic debris in Northern Fulmars from the Canadian high Arctic. Marine Pollution Bulletin 56, 1501–1504.
CrossRef | CAS |

Mallory, M. L., Roberston, G. J., and Moenting, A. (2006). Marine plastic debris in Northern Fulmars from Davis Strait, Nunavut, Canada. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52, 813–815.
CrossRef | CAS |

Mascarenhas, R., Santos, R., and Zeppelini, D. (2004). Plastic debris ingestion by sea turtle in Paraíba, Brazil. Marine Pollution Bulletin 49, 354–355.
CrossRef | CAS |

Mato, Y., Isobe, T., Takada, H., Kanehiro, H., Ohtake, C., and Kaminuma, T. (2001). Plastic resin pellets as a transport medium for toxic chemicals in the marine environment. Environmental Science & Technology 35, 318–324.
CrossRef | CAS |

Montague, T. L., Cullen, J. M., and Fitzherbert, K. (1986). The diet of the Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris, during its breeding season. Emu 86, 207–213.
CrossRef |

Moore, E., Lyday, S., Roletto, J., Litle, K., Parrish, J. K., Nevins, H., Harvey, J., Mortenson, J., Greig, D., Piazza, M., Hermance, A., Lee, D., Adams, D., Allen, S., and Kell, S. (2009). Entanglements of marine mammals and seabirds in central California and the north-west coast of the United States 2001–2005. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58, 1045–1051.
CrossRef | CAS |

Norman, F. I., and Brown, R. S. (1987). Notes on Common Diving-Petrels Pelecanoides urinatrix found beach-washed in Victoria, 1985. Emu 87, 179–185.
CrossRef |

Ogi, H. (1990). Ingestion of plastic particles by Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters in the North Pacific. In ‘Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Marine Debris’, 2–7 April 1989, Honolulu, HI. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Technical Memorandum (Eds R. S. Shomura and M. L. Godfrey.) pp. 635–652. (US Department of Commerce: Honolulu, HI).

Provencher, J. F., Gaston, A. J., and Mallory, M. L. (2009). Evidence for increased ingestion of plastics by Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) in the Canadian Arctic. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58, 1092–1095.
CrossRef | CAS |

Robards, M. D., Piatt, J. F., and Wohl, K. D. (1995). Increasing frequency of plastic particles ingested by seabirds in the subarctic North Pacific. Marine Pollution Bulletin 30, 151–157.
CrossRef | CAS |

Ryan, P. G. (1988a). Effects of ingested plastic on seabird feeding: evidence from chickens. Marine Pollution Bulletin 19, 125–128.
CrossRef |

Ryan, P. G. (1988b). Intraspecific variation in plastic ingestion by seabirds and the flux of plastic through seabird populations. Condor 90, 446–452.
CrossRef |

Ryan, P. G. (2008). Seabirds indicate changes in the composition of plastic litter in the Atlantic and south-western Indian Oceans. Marine Pollution Bulletin 56, 1406–1409.
CrossRef | CAS |

Ryan, P. G., and Jackson, S. (1987). The lifespan of ingested plastic particles in seabirds and their effect on digestive efficiency. Marine Pollution Bulletin 18, 217–219.
CrossRef | CAS |

Ryan, P. G., Connell, A. D., and Gardner, B. D. (1988). Plastic ingestion and PCBs in seabirds: is there a relationship? Marine Pollution Bulletin 19, 174–176.
CrossRef | CAS |

Ryan, P. G., Moore, C. J., van Franeker, J. A., and Moloney, C. L. (2009). Monitoring the abundance of plastic debris in the marine environment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences 364, 1999–2012.
CrossRef | CAS |

Sievert, P. R., and Sileo, L. (1993). The effects of ingested plastic on growth and survival of albatross chicks. In ‘The Status, Ecology, and Conservation of Marine Birds of the North Pacific’. Canadian Wildlife Service Special Publication. (Eds K. Vermeer, K. T. Briggs, K. H. Morgan and D. Siegel-Causey.) pp. 212–217. (Canadian Wildlife Service: Ottawa, ON.)

Skira, I. J. (1986). Food of the Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris, in Tasmania. Australian Wildlife Research 13, 481–488.
CrossRef |

Tomás, J., Guitart, R., Mateo, R., and Raga, J. A. (2002). Marine debris ingestion in loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, from the western Mediterranean. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44, 211–216.
CrossRef |

van Franeker, J. A. (1985). Plastic ingestion in the North Atlantic Fulmar. Marine Pollution Bulletin 16, 367–369.
CrossRef |

Vlietstra, L. S., and Parga, J. A. (2002). Long-term changes in the type, but not amount, of ingested plastic particles in Short-tailed Shearwaters in the southeastern Bering Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44, 945–955.
CrossRef | CAS |

Warham, J. (Ed.) (1990). ‘The Petrels: Their Ecology and Breeding Systems.’ (Academic Press: London.)

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2015