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Special issue of MERMEX project : recent advances in the oceanography of the Mediterranean Sea

  • Schmidt, N.
  • Thibault, Delphine
  • Galgani, F.
  • Paluselli, A.
  • Sempere, R.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
Horizon / Pleins textes
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Between 2014 and 2016 a total of 43 microplastic samples were collected at six sampling stations in the eastern section of the Gulf of Lion (located in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea), as well as upstream of the Rhone River. Microplastics were found in every sample with highly variable concentrations and masses. Concentrations ranged from 6.10(3) items km(-2) to 1.10(6) items km(-2) (with an average of 112.10(3) items km(-2)), and mass ranged from 0.30 g km(-2) to 1018 g km(-2) DW (mean 61.92 +/- 178.03 g km(-2)). The samples with the highest and lowest microplastic count originate both from the Bay of Marseille. For the Bay of Marseille, it is estimated that the total microplastic load consist of 519.10(3)-101.10(6) items weighing 0.07-118 kg. Estimations for daily microplastic transport by the Northern Current and the Rhone River, two important hydrologic features of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, range from 0.18 to 86.46 t and from 0.20 to 21.32 kg, respectively. Particles < 1 mm(2) clearly dominated sampling stations in the Northern Current, the Rhone River and its plume (52, 53 and 61%, respectively), suggesting a long exposure time in the environment. Items between 1 mm(2) and 5 mm(2) in size were the most abundant microplastics in Marseille Bay (55%), which suggests coastal pollution sources or the removal of smaller particles from surface waters e.g. by ballasting owing to the presence of epibionts.

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