Plastic connectivity: disentangling the problem of plastic pollution for pelagic seabirds

31st July 2020

CCI’s Collaborative Fund supports projects on which CCI partners, the University of Cambridge and other conservation organisations collaborate to address global conservation issues.

BirdLife International, Fauna and Flora International and the University of Cambridge are working to assess the impact of plastic pollution on seabirds. A recent project update reports great progress on collation of data which tracks 72 seabird species, including over 30 small petrel species, a key focus for this study. Additionally models of the density of floating marine plastics have been mapped and methods developed for comparing this to the density of seabirds.

The project team hope that results will provide very useful insights regarding the risk of plastic encounter by migratory seabirds throughout their annual cycle, and the corresponding potential conservation implications (e.g. exposure to plastics during the breeding period can represent an additional risk to breeding success).

Working collaboratively has been crucial to bring together experts in seabird ecology, data modelling, and marine conservation and policy.