Assessing the current state of plastic pollution research in Antarctica: Knowledge gaps and recommendations

Gabriel Enrique De-la-Torre*, Luis Santillán, Diana Carolina Dioses-Salinas, Emma Yenney, Tania Toapanta, Elvis D. Okoffo, Gunasekaran Kannan, Reyhane Madadi, Sina Dobaradaran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Antarctica stands as one of the most isolated and pristine regions on our planet. Regardless, recent studies have evidenced the presence of plastic pollution in Antarctic environments and biota. While these findings are alarming and put into perspective the reach of plastic pollution, it is necessary to assess the current knowledge of plastic pollution in Antarctica. In the present review, an updated literature review of plastic pollution in multiple Antarctic environmental compartments and biota was conducted. Studies were cataloged based on environmental compartments (e.g., sediments, seawater, soil, atmosphere) and biota from different ecological niches. A detailed analysis of the main findings, as well as the flaws and shortcomings across studies, was conducted. In general terms, several studies have shown a lack of adequate sampling and analytical procedures for plastic research (particularly in the case of microplastics) and standard procedures; thus, compromising the reliability of the data reported and comparability across studies. Aiming to guide future studies and highlight research needs, a list of knowledge gaps and recommendations were provided based on the analysis and discussion of the literature and following standardized procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141870
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Antarctic
  • Contamination
  • Debris
  • Food web
  • Microplastics
  • Southern ocean


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