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Latest Articles Published by the Research Group:

Marine macro‑litter mass outweighs biomass in trawl catches along abyssal seafloors of Sardinia channel (Italy)

2024, Environmental Science and Pollution Research (Open Access)

This study provides new insights onto spatial and temporal trends of seafloor macro-litter in the abyssal seafloor of Sardin- ian channel, in central western Mediterranean (Italy). Trawl surveys were conducted at depths between 884 and 1528 m, thus focusing on one of the least investigated marine environments. None of the considered sites was litter free, with plas- tics being numerically dominant (57% of items), followed by metal (11%) and glass (16%). Recorded densities and weight ranged between 49.9 and 499 items per square Km and 1.4 and 1052 kg per square Km. I

n the most contaminated sites, the weight of the litter collected in nets represented up to nine times the biomass of benthic megafauna, and, overall, in 60% of hauls macro-litter mass outweighed the biomass collected. Moreover, we report that megafauna was observed to be more abundant in sites where macro-litter presence was more severe. More studies are needed to elucidate the nature of this correlation, with biota being more abundant in hotspots of accumulation of seafloor macro-litter

What, where, and when: Spatial-temporal distribution of macro-litter on the seafloor of the western and central Mediterranean sea

2024, Environmental Pollution

The progressive increase of marine macro-litter on the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea is an urgent problem that needs accurate information and guidance to identify those areas most at risk of accumulation. In the absence of dedicated monitoring programs, an important source of opportunistic data is fishery-independent monitoring campaigns of demersal resources. These data have long been used but not yet extensively. In this paper, MEDITS data was supplemented with 18 layers of information related to major environmental (e.g. depth, sea water and wind velocity, sea waves) and anthropogenic (e.g. river inputs, shipping lanes, urban areas and ports, fishing effort) forcings that influence seafloor macro-litter distribution. The Random Forest (RF), a machine learning approach, was applied to: i) model the distribution of several litter categories at a high spatial resolution (i.e. 1 km2); ii) identify major accumulation hot spots and their temporal trends. This approach, based on georeferenced information widely available in public databases, seems a natural candidate to be applied in other basins as a support and complement tool to field monitoring activities and strategies for protection and remediation of the most impacted areas.

Long-term sublethal exposure to polyethylene and tire wear particles: Effects on risk-taking behaviour in invasive and native fish

2024, Science of the Total Environment

🚀Exciting collaboration between University of Cagliari @univca (Italy) & @BiologyCentre of the Czech National Academy of Science:

How microplastic ingestion affects behavioural changes in native vs invasive species?

Native carps exposed to PE & Tire Wear particles were more prone to bolder behaviour, that could eventually alter prey-predator interactions, causing potential severe effects on freshwater trophic webs. @STOTEN_journal Link👇

The quest for seafloor macrolitter: a critical review of background knowledge, current methods and future prospects

2022, Environmental Research Letters

The seafloor covers some 70% of the Earth's surface and has been recognized as a major sink for marine litter. Still, litter on the seafloor is the least investigated fraction of marine litter, which is not surprising as most of it lies in the deep sea, i.e. the least explored ecosystem. Although marine litter is considered a major threat for the oceans, monitoring frameworks are still being set up. This paper reviews current knowledge and methods, identifies existing needs, and points to future developments that are required to address the estimation of seafloor macrolitter. It provides background knowledge and conveys the views and thoughts of scientific experts on seafloor marine litter offering a review of monitoring and ocean modeling techniques. Knowledge gaps that need to be tackled, data needs for modeling, and data comparability and harmonization are also discussed. In addition, it shows how research on seafloor macrolitter can inform international protection and conservation frameworks to prioritize efforts and measures against marine litter and its deleterious impacts.

Benthic Crustacean Digestion Can Modulatethe Environmental Fate of Microplastics in the Deep Sea 

2020, Environmental Science & technology (Open Access)

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