Trash Dance: Anthropogenic Litter and Organic Matter Co-Accumulate on Urban Beaches

Catégorie : Impacts de la Pollution
Date :20 novembre 2020
Lazcano, Raul F.; Vincent, Anna E. S.; Hoellein, Timothy J.
Geosciences : 10 (DocId: 9)
Anthropogenic litter (i.e., trash, AL) on beaches has negative ecological and economic impacts. Beach AL is likely moved together with coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM, algae, leaves), but no previous studies have assessed AL and CPOM co-distribution. We measured AL and CPOM on four urban beaches in Chicago, Illinois, USA, along two transect types (pier-adjacent, non-pier adjacent) in which each has three habitats (upland, beach, strand line). As expected, AL and CPOM density were positively related across all transects. AL and CPOM were significantly higher adjacent to piers, and variable among habitats. Wood, leaves, and smoking-related AL were most abundant in beach and upland zones while glass and algal detritus were abundant at the strandline. Overall, AL and CPOM show ‘patchy’ distribution attributed to wind and wave movement toward accumulation sites. Beach CPOM is a hot spot of biological activity (e.g., microbes, invertebrates, birds). Therefore, mixing of AL and CPOM suggests organisms may be more likely to encounter AL in mixed accumulations. Efforts to reduce the abundance and biological impacts of beach AL will benefit from emphasizing organic matter accumulation sites.