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Abstract

Plastic is an increasingly pervasive marine pollutant. Concomitantly, the number of studies documenting plastic ingestion in wildlife is accelerating. Many of these studies aim to provide a baseline against which future levels of plastic ingestion can be compared, and are motivated by an underlying interest in the conservation of their study species and ecosystems. Although this research has helped to raise the profile of plastic as a pollutant of emerging concern, there is a disconnect between research examining plastic pollution and wildlife conservation. We present ideas to further discussion about how plastic ingestion research could benefit wildlife conservation by prioritising studies that elucidates the significance of plastic pollution as a population-level threat, identifies vulnerable populations, and evaluates strategies for mitigating impacts. The benefit of plastic ingestion research to marine wildlife can be improved by establishing a clearer understanding of how discoveries will be integrated into conservation and policy actions.
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... Approximately 67% of plastic released into the marine environment since the 1950s could be trapped nearshore, either on beaches or suspending and resurfacing in nearshore waters (Lebreton et al., 2019). These plastics can then be transferred throughout the food web (Provencher et al., 2019), and negatively affect marine biota through entanglement and ingestion, accumulation of organic pollutants, physical abrasions, starvation and more (Avery-Gomm et al., 2018;Sigler, 2014;Vegter et al., 2014). ...
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Thesis
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