• Marine litter research expedition in the Cabrera Archipelago National Maritime-Terrestrial Park

What did we do?

This scientific expedition investigated for the first time marine litter in coastal ecosystems of this Marine Protected Area (MPA).

The main aims were to quantify and identify micro and macro litter from different sea compartments (seafloor, sea surface, water column and beaches) and biota, by testing the sampling protocols developed within the Plastic Busters MPAs project. The results will help diagnose the impacts of marine litter on marine habitats and biota as well as identify marine litter ‘hotspots’. Furthermore, the results will contribute to shaping up a common framework of marine litter actions and thus ensure the preservation of natural ecosystems across the Mediterranean basin.

The sampling campaign was carried out at the main island of Cabrera and the study areas were selected on the basis of the type of survey performed, the results of the marine litter forecasting model developed for the islands and the orientation of the shoreline. 

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The scientific expedition in numbers has been as follows:


-22 dives for seafloor macro-litter sampling

-6 dives for hyperbenthos sampling (12 hyperbenthos samples)

-36 sediment samples for micro-litter analyzis

-30 sea surface manta trawls for micro-litter sampling

-104 biota organisms sampled for litter ingestion analyzes (ingestion, biomarkers, Phatalates, contaminants, stable isotopes, reactive oxygen species) from 3 sampling locations with a total of 399 samples (44 mussels, 145 holothurians and sea urchin and 210 fish).

44 mussels (Mytilus edulis)

15 holothurians (Holothuria forskali , Holothuria tubulosa and Holothuria poli)

15 sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividus and  Arbacea lixivus)

30 fish (Serranus scriba and Oblada melanura)

As scheduled in the project, samples will be now processed at the COB-IEO laboratory and other laboratories within the Plastic Busters MPAs consortium.

-5 coastal beach macro-litter surveys

-29 beach sediment samples