Social media as a novel source of data on the impact of marine litter on megafauna: The Philippines as a case study
Marine litter is a global threat to marine biodiversity. However, there is a key knowledge gap on the impacts of marine litter in the Philippines – a country of high marine biodiversity and large exclusive economic zone. This gap is addressed here by using information shared on the internet by citizen scientists and conservation groups to assess the impacts of marine litter on megafauna. Facebook, presently the largest social media platform, was scanned for posts concerning the interaction between litter and marine species in the Philippines. Results showed thirty-two individuals from 17 species were affected by marine litter in the country. Furthermore, ingestion (61%) was the most frequent interaction reported. Mindanao was also identified as a hotspot for marine litter interactions. The study highlights the utility of social media in providing data to create an inventory of marine species adversely affected by litter and the spatial distribution of these interactions.
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