Firsts steps in microplastics presence in loggerhead marine turtles (Caretta caretta)

This study represents first evidences of microplastics in marine turtles. Microplastics presence was analyzed in feces samples on live wild and captive animals. Feces were collected siphoning recovery tanks bottom and microplastics were separated flooding samples with hipersaline water (35grNaCl/100 ml filtered H2O), upper layer was removed and filtered. Microplastics were classified according to Marine litter Guidance categories under a stereomicroscope. Turtles were feed with different foods (anchovy (FAO 37), mackerel (FAO 34) and squid (FAO 77)) that were also analyzed for microplastics presence. Results showed that turtle fitness (weight and carapace length) had no effect on microplastic amounts founded on feces, in the same way as food type (anchovy, mackerel, squid or unknown food – wild turtles –) had no showed a significant effect in microplastics per feces gram. Nevertheless, there seems to be a trend in microplastics amounts where mackerel fed turtles shown similarities with wild animals. Neither significant correlation was found between food weight and fecal remains, microplastics/gr in food and microplastics/gr in feces or total microplastics ingested and total microplastics defecate. Further studies are needed in order to improve non invasive methodologies for microplastics analyses in alive wild animals.

Promotor(s) & Supervisor: Ana Liria Loza

ISCED Categories

The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management