New review of the effects of plastic litter on marine wildlife

Published on
June 3, 2015

Frequently we are asked which marine animal species are known to be negatively impacted by debris. For a long time a compilation produced by Laist (1997, Impacts of Marine Debris) was the best source. Now, Susanne Kühn, Elisa Bravo Rebolledo and Jan van Franeker have made a completely new review.

Photo: A Northern Gannet, entangled by plastic debris around the bill

All species of marine turtles, 66% of marine mammal species, 50% of seabird species and a rapidly growing list of fishes and invertebrates have well documented cases of entanglement in, and ingestion of mainly plastic marine litter. The freely accessible publication (‘Open Access’) is accompanied by a large online supplement providing detailed species records with sources. Undoubtedly, the list of affected species will continue to grow. It is recommended to increase investigations of the number of individuals and gravity of impacts within specific species.

Kühn S, Bravo Rebolledo EL, van Franeker JA (2015) Deleterious effects of litter on marine life. In: Bergmann M, Gutow L, Klages M (eds) Marine Anthropogenic Litter. Springer International Publishing.

  • The article may be downloaded from
  • A complete pdf in which the article and the supplementary material are combined in a single file, can be downloaded here: Deleterious effects of litter on marine life (file size 4 MB)
Marine Anthropogenic Litter

This review is one of the chapters in a 451 page book about marine litter, to which IMARES and Wageningen University contributed three chapters: Marine Anthropogenic Litter.