Understanding the interactions between cephalopods and marine litter: a research evaluation with identification of gaps and future perspectives
March 2023, article in peer-reviewed journal
Marine Pollution Bulletin
Litter is known to negatively affect numerous marine organisms, but the extent of such impacts is not well known for several groups, including cephalopods. Considering the ecological, behavioral and economic importance of these animals, we reviewed the types of interactions between cephalopods and litter in the scientific literature, to evaluate impacts and knowledge gaps. We found 30 papers, which included records of microplastic ingestion and the transfer of synthetic microfibers along the food web. The largest number of records involved litter use as shelter, and the common octopus was the most frequent species. At first sight, litter use as shelter could appear to be a potential positive effect, but it is necessary to clarify the implications of this choice and its long-term consequences. Regarding ingestion and trophic transfer, further research is needed to elucidate its occurrence and impacts on cephalopods and their predators, including humans.