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Using Northern fulmars as an ecological monitor of marine litter in line with indicators set for MSFD descriptor 10 - ME5209

The Fulmar study has been developed over a number of years in the Netherlands and has more recently been developed as an OSPAR Ecological Quality Objective. The research looks into the amount of plastic found in the stomachs of northern fulmars as a means of monitoring plastics in the environment. Fulmars are purely oceanic foragers, they regularly ingest litter and accumulate wear-resistant items in their stomach. Stomach contents provide an integrated picture of litter abundance at the sea surface. This funding will allow the research to contribute towards the MSFD descriptor 10 (marine litter) and for OSPAR EcoQO monitoring in the North Sea.

The result will be used to inform the MSFD Descriptor 10 on marine litter under the criteria 10.2: Impacts of litter on marine life, specifically Indicator 10.2.1: Trends in the amount and composition of litter ingested by marine animals (e.g. stomach analysis). It will provide the UK with a data set from 2002 and will be useful in determining the presence of marine litter in the environment, any trends over time and will also give a comparison between OSPAR regions.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : ME5209 Final Report   (1308k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : ME5209 2 Page Summary   (266k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2012

Cost: £63,991
Contractor / Funded Organisations
SNS Fulmar Group