Quantities of marine debris ingested by sea turtles: Global meta-analysis highlights need for standardized data reporting methods and reveals relative risk
Jennifer M. Lynch
Marine debris ingestion is a threat to marine organisms. Previous reviews call for standardization and highlight biases in the literature, yet none thoroughly describe improvements needed at the data reporting stage. This review explains the consequences of not reporting quantities of ingested debris (32 % of sea turtle studies reported only frequency of occurrence), of excluding animals that did not ingest debris (64 % of studies), and of not normalizing quantities to animal size (95 % of studies). Quantities, corrected for these factors, allowed a global meta-analysis on the units of g/kg, which revealed that hawksbills and green turtles rank highest among sea turtle species, and identified hotspots including the Central and Northwest Pacific and Southwest Atlantic Oceans. Furthermore, monitoring efforts are disproportionate to the magnitude of the problem. Larger efforts have focused in the Mediterranean Sea, where international policies are hotly discussed, instead of regions like the Central Pacific that have 5-fold greater debris ingestion quantities. Therefore, future studies are recommended to report quantities of ingested debris using units described herein.
Quantities of marine debris ingested by sea turtles: Global meta-analysis highlights need for standardized data reporting methods and reveals relative risk, Environmental Science & Technology, [online], https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b02848
(Accessed September 28, 2021)