Marine Ecology: Current and Future Developments

Marine Ecology: Current and Future Developments

Volume: 1

Marine Pollution: Current Status, Impacts, and Remedies

While oceans are vast, they represent a fragile resource that must be protected if we want to protect our livelihoods and our planet. Marine pollution has been a topic of concern for a long time, and ...
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Pollution Dynamics of Organic Contaminants in Marine Ecosystems

Pp. 91-113 (23)

Donat-P. Häder


While the biomass of marine ecosystems is only about 1% of their terrestrial counterparts, their productivity rivals that of all land-based ecosystems taken together. The structure and performance of these ecosystems are strongly affected by environmental factors, such as temperature, nutrients, transparency, solar visible and UV radiation. Increasing pollution, not only of coastal habitats but also of open ocean waters, results in changes in productivity and species composition. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are organic chemicals that are not degraded for long periods and include brominated flame retardants, perfluoroalkyl compounds, fluorotelomer alcohols, perfluoroalkylsulfonic acids (FPSAs), perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs), fluorotelomer carboxylic acids, fluorotelomer sulfonic acids, and fluorinated polymers. Pesticides enter the aquatic ecosystems with terrestrial run-off, but are distributed not only in coastal areas and estuaries. Microplastics are of growing concern since they are concentrated in oceanic gyres. They are ingested by plankton and accumulated in the food chain. Accidental oil spills and catastrophic events are the reason for the pollution by crude oil and its products. Mineral oil pollution has been found to affect all the biota from plankton, via invertebrates to vertebrates.


Organic Pollutants, Persistent Organic Pollutants, Pesticides, Microplastics, Mineral Oil, Coastal Ecosystems, Open Ocean Habitats.


Department of Biology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.