Monday, February 2, 2015

Plastic Beads, Fragments, and Fibers! Oh My!

Clean Ocean Action’s Microplastic Research Project

Clean Ocean Action is hard at work investigating microplastics in beach sand and coastal waters! In the summer of 2014, Cassandra Ornell, Staff Scientist, and Catie Tobin, Marine Science Education Coordinator, teamed up with scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) along with students from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST).

Over the past few months, the team has been hard at work testing various methods that would provide the best data. After time spent with the different systems in the lab, the project has finally moved into the identification stage in which the team is viewing their samples under the microscope. As of last week, the first microbead was seen, confirming the hypothesis that microplastics are present in the New Jersey coastal area.

In the months ahead, the team will continue the identification phase with the hopes of releasing the data in tandem with the year of celebration for the 30th Beach Sweep Anniversary.  Stay tuned for updates!

Read more about the study here

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