Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Plastic debris in the open ocean
Authors: Cózar, Andrés
Echevarría, Fidel
González-Gordillo, J. Ignacio
Irigoien, Xabier
Úbeda, Bárbara
Hernández-León, Santiago 
Palma, Álvaro T.
Navarro, Sandra
García-de-Lomas, Juan
Ruiz, Andrea
Fernández-de-Puelles, María L.
Duarte, Carlos M.
UNESCO Clasification: 251001 Oceanografía biológica
Keywords: Pacific-Ocean
Subtropical Gyre
North Pacific
Microplastics, et al
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: 0027-8424
Project: Expedición de Circunnavegación Malaspina 2010: Cambio Global y Exploración Del Océano Global 
"Migradores y Flujo Activo en El Océano Atlántico" 
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 
Abstract: There is a rising concern regarding the accumulation of floating plastic debris in the open ocean. However, the magnitude and the fate of this pollution are still open questions. Using data from the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation, regional surveys, and previously published reports, we show a worldwide distribution of plastic on the surface of the open ocean, mostly accumulating in the convergence zones of each of the five subtropical gyres with comparable density. However, the global load of plastic on the open ocean surface was estimated to be on the order of tens of thousands of tons, far less than expected. Our observations of the size distribution of floating plastic debris point at important size-selective sinks removing millimeter-sized fragments of floating plastic on a large scale. This sink may involve a combination of fast nano-fragmentation of the microplastic into particles of microns or smaller, their transference to the ocean interior by food webs and ballasting processes, and processes yet to be discovered. Resolving the fate of the missing plastic debris is of fundamental importance to determine the nature and significance of the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean.
ISSN: 0027-8424
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314705111
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America [ISSN 0027-8424], v. 111, p. 10239-10244
Appears in Collections:Artículos
Adobe PDF (1,07 MB)
Show full item record


checked on Jun 4, 2023


checked on Jun 4, 2023

Page view(s)

checked on Oct 29, 2022


checked on Oct 29, 2022

Google ScholarTM




Export metadata

Items in accedaCRIS are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.