Among the smallest seabirds in the Atlantic, Dovekies are eating more plastic pollution than previously thought (October 2016)
Newfoundland, Canada can be an inhospitable place in the dead of winter. In January 2013, a unfortunate mass die-off of Dovekies (Alle alle) created an opportunity to document their levels of plastic ingestion. Our research, recently published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, found that nearly one third of the seabirds had ingested at least one piece of plastic. This is the highest recorded ingestion rate ever found for Dovekies in this area, or elsewhere. Unfortunately, our ability to understand the cause of this increase is undermined by the inconsistent methods past studies have used to document plastic ingestion. Using comparable methods is paramount, since each study is meant to add a piece to a global puzzle so that the scientific community can track trends in plastic ingestion in wildlife. This Newfoundland-based study provides a great example of just how important using standardized methods really is.
Seabirds in the North Pacific Indicate Plastic Pollution is a Problem worth Paying Attention to (July 2013) Most people have heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre - but what we didn't know until now is that there is also a great deal of plastic pollution off the west coast of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. A paper published by myself and coauthors in Marine Pollution Bulletin attracted international media attention - a selection of which is available below!