Check out our new manuscript on microplastic at marine turtle nesting grounds: Microplastics can impact key habitats used by endangered species, such as marine turtles. They impact the environment by transporting toxicants and altering sediment properties affecting temperature and sedimentpermeability. Our study determined the exposure of the ten most important nesting sites for the Northern Gulf of Mexico Loggerhead Recovery Unit to microplastic. Sand samples were obtained at each nesting site during the 2017 nesting season and analyzed for abundance and characteristics of microplastic. Microplastic was found at all sites, with an average abundance of 61.08 ± 34.61 pieces/m2, and 59.9% located at the dunes, where turtles primarily nest. A gradual decrease in microplastics abundance was observed from the most western nesting ground to the east. The results from this study indicate that microplastic accumulation on nesting sites for the Northern Gulf of Mexico may be of great concern, and could negatively affect the incubating environment formarine turtles.
Reference: Beckwith, V. K. and Fuentes M. M. P. B. (2018). Microplastic at nesting grounds used by the northern Gulf of Mexico loggerhead recovery unit. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 131, 32-37