Research ArticleOCEANOGRAPHY

Microfibers in oceanic surface waters: A global characterization

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Science Advances  05 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 23, eaay8493
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay8493
  • Fig. 1 The raw concentration of fibers collected at the ocean surface.

    Circle size is scaled by fiber density, which ranges from 0 to 25.8 fibers liter−1. Data sources are provided in the Supplementary Materials (n = 916 seawater samples). See table S5 for more details about sampling campaigns. ACE, Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition; IIOE2, Second International Indian Ocean Expedition.

  • Fig. 2 The concentration of microfibers found in different ocean basins.

    Corrected (green) and uncorrected (blue) fiber concentrations found in the main five basins and sub-basins surveyed during this study. Boxes show 25–75 percentiles with median values as central lines. Whiskers denote upper [Q3 + (1.5 × interquartile range)] and lower [Q1 − (1.5 × interquartile range)] inner fences. Values outside them are shown as circles, while stars denote values exceeding outer fences (i.e., 3 × interquartile range). Values >15 fibers liter−1 (n = 30) are not shown for clarity.

  • Fig. 3 Length and diameter of the fibers.

    The frequency distribution of fiber lengths (A) and diameters (B) measured across the entire dataset (n = 2016 fibers) and pooled in 0.1 mm (A) and 1 μm (B) bins, respectively. Fibers longer than 7 mm (n = 24) and thicker than 75 μm (n = 10) are not shown for clarity.

  • Fig. 4 The composition of the fibers extracted from blank and seawater samples.

    Results of the μFTIR analysis showing the composition of all fibers collected in six oceanic basins compared to laboratory blanks (n = 2134 fibers). More details are given in table S4.

  • Table 1 Fiber concentrations.

    Median value and interquartile range (Q1–Q3) of fiber concentrations (fibers liter−1) found in all oceanic basins and sub-basins sampled during this survey. Both raw and corrected data are shown (n, number of samples collected in each basin).

    Mediterranean Sea1084.23.0––7.7
    Indian Ocean3041.80.9––3.0
    Atlantic Ocean2411.20.4––2.2
    Southern Ocean2631.20.5––3.5
  • Table 2 Fiber dimensions.

    Median value and interquartile range (Q1–Q3) of fiber length (millimeters) and diameter (micrometers) measured in a subset of fibers (n) extracted from seawater and blank samples.

    Fiber length (mm)Fiber diameter (μm)
    Mediterranean Sea3361.330.76–2.0318.615.0–22.9
    Indian Ocean3421.060.65–1.7516.815.0–20.6
    Atlantic Ocean3381.110.71–1.8515.014.9–20.0
    Southern Ocean10000.960.60–1.5516.715.0–20.0

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary Materials

    Microfibers in oceanic surface waters: A global characterization

    Giuseppe Suaria, Aikaterini Achtypi, Vonica Perold, Jasmine R. Lee, Andrea Pierucci, Thomas G. Bornman, Stefano Aliani, Peter G. Ryan

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    The PDF file includes:

    • Supplementary Text
    • Tables S1 to S5
    • Figs. S1 to S3
    • Legend for data file S1

    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

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