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Cornell University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology


Plastic pollution is one of the foremost environmental issues that the world is currently experiencing. The effects of plastic pollution are great and range from leaching of hazardous chemicals into the environment to ingestion of plastic waste by wildlife, including seabirds. Due to the high rates of plastic consumption by seabirds, many recent studies have been performed to determine the biological impacts of plastic consumption on various seabird species. The Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) is the world’s largest sea gull and the only gull endemic to Australia, yet very limited information exists on this species. This study examines the impacts of anthropogenic debris, including plastic waste, on the diet of Pacific Gulls in Launceston, Tasmania and attempts to determine if there is any seasonal variation in diet or ingestion of debris. Plastic was found in 86.92% of processed boluses, and anthropogenic debris made up 39.85% of the average mass of all the processed boluses. No seasonal variation in diet was found. Further research needs to be conducted to better understand the impacts of anthropogenic waste on this species specifically.


Animal Studies | Asian Studies | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Policy | Environmental Studies | Oceanography | Ornithology


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