Náttúra og náttúrutilfeingi
Sjófuglur sum yvirvøkutól av dálking í føroyskum sjóøkið
Dr. Stuart Black, Prof. Richard Phillips
01/09/2021 - 31/08/2022
Stuðul úr Granskingargrunninum:
Project Summary: “Seabirds as monitors of marine pollution in the Faroe Islands” Plastic pollution is a major problem facing the world’s oceans. Global plastic production has increased significantly in recent decades, and this has led to an increase in the amount of plastic entering the marine environment. However, assessing the distribution and extent of plastic pollution directly (e.g., from ship-based surveys) is expensive and logistically challenging. One alternative is to measure plastic ingestion by seabirds, which can be effective monitors of marine plastic pollution across their foraging areas. The Faroe Islands are renowned for their diversity and abundance of seabirds, and this project will focus on the Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) population at Skúvoy, Faroe Islands (61°45’N, 6°48’W). Manx shearwaters are legally harvested for consumption by the residents of Skúvoy, and stomach contents and liver samples have been collected from hunted birds by Havstovan Faroe Marine Research Institute since the beginning of the 21st century (2003–2019). No birds were killed for the purposes of this research. The aim of this project is to analyse trends in plastic ingestion by Manx shearwaters across this time period, which will provide important insights into how plastic pollution has changed in Faroese waters since 2003. In addition, we will quantify the diet of Manx shearwaters (using stomach contents and stable isotope ratios of liver samples), which will enable us to determine whether changes in plastic ingestion are due to changing levels of pollution in the marine environment, or by birds switching to more contaminated prey/habitats. Hence, this project will also provide the first dietary information for Manx shearwaters at the Faroe Islands. Lastly, owing to the inclusion of toxic substances in plastics, or contamination during manufacture, or from adsorption of pollutants in the oceans, there may be an increased health risk to seabirds from ingestion. Hence, we will also measure concentrations of a range of trace element contaminants in bird livers to understand the full extent of the pollution problem for these birds.
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