Plastic ingestion in Cory´s shearwaters (Calonectris borealis): a potential bioindicator of plastic pollution in the NE Atlantic

  • Name
    Yasmina Rodríguez
  • Entity host
    Instituto de Investigação em Ciências do Mar – Okeanos
  • University awarding the degree
    University of the Azores


This PhD proposal aims to study plastic ingestion in Cory´s shearwaters (Calonectris borealis), integrating past data with novel field data and laboratory analyses. Specifically, the goals will be to determine spatiotemporal patterns of plastic ingestion, investigate the mechanisms of plastic ingestion, examine the ingestion of small microplastics (inferior of 1mm), and their potential role in fragmentation processes, and quantify the uptake of chemicals in this species. Finally, the collected data will be integrated into a wider assessment of the potential use of Cory´s shearwaters as an effective bioindicator of plastic contamination in the NE Atlantic in the framework of the MSFD (Marine Strategy Framework Directive). There is mounting evidence showing that plastic pollution is a threat to marine ecosystems. While there is a wide variety of methods to evaluate the quantities of marine plastics, the use of bioindicators is increasingly gaining attention. Seabirds possess several attributes that make them useful as environmental indicators and, are considered particularly relevant for monitoring plastic pollution. Recently, Cory´s shearwaters were proposed by Portuguese authorities to OSPAR as a potential bioindicator, even though, little information is yet available to support this nomination.


  • Scientic article
    Cory’s shearwater as a key bioindicator for monitoring floating plastics
    Check here.

Na altura em que abandonam o ninho, 90% dos cagarros já têm o estômago cheio de plástico, mostra estudo do Instituto Okeanos (VISÃO, 2024)