Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) are a pelagic seabird species distributed at northern and polar latitudes. They are often used as an indicator of plastic pollution in the North Sea region, but data are lacking from higher latitudes, especially when it comes to chicks. Here, we investigated amounts of ingested plastic and their characteristics in fulmar chicks from the Faroe Islands. Plastic particles (≥1 mm) in chicks of two age classes were searched using a digestion method with KOH. In addition, to evaluate if additive tissue burden reflects plastic ingestion, we measured liver tissue concentrations of two pollutant classes associated with plastic materials: polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and several dechloranes, using gas chromatography with high-resolution mass spectrometry. The most common shape was hard fragment (81%) and the most common polymer was polyethylene (73%). Plastic contamination did not differ between either age class, and we found no correlation between neither the amount and mass of plastic particles and the concentration of additives. After comparison with previous studies on adult fulmars, we do not recommend using chicks for biomonitoring adults because chicks seem to ingest more plastics than adults.
- Plastic pollution
- Early life stage