Microplastics in surface waters of the Gulf of Gabes, southern Mediterranean Sea: Distribution, composition and influence of hydrodynamics

Catégorie : Détection et Caractérisation
Date :28 septembre 2020
Zayen, Amal; Sayadi, Sami; Chevalier, Cristele; Boukthir, Moncef; Ben Ismail, Sana; Tedetti, Marc.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science : 242
The Mediterranean Sea has been described as one of the most affected areas by marine litter in the world. Although microplastics and their effects have been investigated in this area, most of the currently available studies have been limited to the northwestern part of the basin. This study constitutes a first attempt to determine the abundance, characteristics and composition of microplastics in near surface waters of the Gulf of Gabes (southern Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia). Samples were collected using a 200 mu m-mesh size trawl net along two transects. The study revealed an average concentration of 63,739 items/km(2) where fragments and films were the most frequent microplastics. Polyethylene, reformulated polyethylene and polypropylene were the most abundant plastics identified among the samples (86-100%). The influence of hydrodynamics on microplastics in the Gulf of Gabes was investigated through the use of a Lagrangian tracking model to simulate the dispersion of particles in water. Modelling results seem to be in agreement with the reported distribution and characteristics of microplastics in this area.