Investigating The Effects of Plastic Ingestion

Photo credit: Cameron Muir

Photo credit: Cameron Muir


Adrift Lab has published a new paper on the sublethal impacts of plastic ingestion on marine birds. The paper builds on new insights from Peter Puskic’s recent study on the sublethal impacts of plastic ingestion on flesh-footed and short-tailed shearwaters.

Dr Jennifer Lavers - the lead author of the paper - describes the research as important because current knowledge of the negative effects of plastic ingestion on wildlife is largely based on consequences that are easily observed. Thus, the impacts of plastic ingestion are likely underestimated due to limited research on sub-lethal impacts.

Many animals that have ingested plastic may appear superficially healthy but still experience the negative consequences of ingesting debris. One of the main aims of this research is to highlight the kinds of damage caused by ingested plastic which isn’t readily visible.

Thank you to our partners for this project: Detached Foundation, Living Oceans Foundation, Lord Howe Island Museum