A Comparison of Plastic and Plankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre

TitleA Comparison of Plastic and Plankton in the North Pacific Central Gyre
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsMoore, CJ, Moore, SL, Leecaster, MK, Weisberg, SB
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Pagination1297 - 1300
Date Published2001/12/01
ISBN Number0025-326X
Keywordsdebris, neuston, North Pacific central gyre, plastics, pollution monitoring, Zooplankton

The potential for ingestion of plastic particles by open ocean filter feeders was assessed by measuring the relative abundance and mass of neustonic plastic and zooplankton in surface waters under the central atmospheric high-pressure cells of the North Pacific Ocean. Neuston samples were collected at 11 random sites, using a manta trawl lined with 333 u mesh. The abundance and mass of neustonic plastic was the largest recorded anywhere in the Pacific Ocean at 334271 pieces km2 and 5114gkm2, respectively. Plankton abundance was approximately five times higher than that of plastic, but the mass of plastic was approximately six times that of plankton. The most frequently sampled types of identifiable plastic were thin films, polypropylene/monofilament line and unidentified plastic, most of which were miscellaneous fragments. Cumulatively, these three types accounted for 98% of the total number of plastic pieces.

Short TitleMarine Pollution Bulletin