Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

March 2017

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Alan Young

Abstract

Plastic pollution causes mortality of marine vertebrates, endangers populations, and affects entire ecosystems. This literature review examines the effects of macroplastic on marine animals. Through scholarly databases, the author researched how plastic negatively impacts ecosystems and marine vertebrates. The major themes (e.g. toxicity, hazardous ingestion or entanglement) of forty-eight sources were analyzed or evaluated in this paper. Plastic pollution is a major phenomenon that is affecting the health of the marine environment. Anthropogenic debris makes its way around the world via ocean currents and can affect coastal and oceanic animals. Macroplastics are plastics larger than 0.5 mm and are visible to the naked eye. Organisms such as marine mammals, seabirds, and fish are affected by macroplastics through ingestion, entanglement, or direct contact generally because plastics can contain many toxic additives. Solutions to plastic pollution effects on marine vertebrates include sustainable fishing practices and reduction/management of waste.

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