Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (2.63 MB)

An assessment of plastic ingestion in selected Australian pinniped species

Download (2.63 MB)
posted on 2022-03-28, 09:13 authored by Brooke Kelly
Pollution of the marine environment by plastic debris is a global issue, with harmful biological and ecotoxicological impacts recorded for a plethora of marine species. Scats of Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea), Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) and long nosed fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) of southern Australia were analysed for plastic ingestion. The current study is the first record of plastic ingestion in Australian sea lions. The frequency of occurrence of microplastic ingestion varies between colonies - Kangaroo Island(64.71%, n=17), Lady Julia Percy Island (50%, n=6) and Phillip Island (21.43%, n=14). There isa significant relationship between the amounts of microplastics ingested by pinnipeds and the microplastics polluting waters directly surrounding studied colonies, suggesting that plastic loads of nearby urban centres are reflected in microplastics being ingested. Over one third (38.7%) of ingested microplastics were small (<2mm) blue fibres, suggesting that there exists a major source of microplastic pollution of this type in southern Australia, or perhaps that prey species selectively ingest microplastics. Plastics are likely ingested through trophic transfer, but direct ingestion may occur during benthic foraging, similar to the ingestion of gastroliths. Methods of microplastic extraction from pinniped scats are recommended for standardisation


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Project outline -- Chapter 2 Introduction -- Chapter 4 Introduction -- Reference List -- Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 51-61 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Environmental Sciences

Department, Centre or School

Department of Environmental Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Scott Wilson


Copyright Brooke Kelly, 2019. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (80 pages) illustrations, maps

Former Identifiers