MicroPlastox: Microplastics in the marine environment: estimation and ecotoxicological logical assessment

User group PI: João Pinto da Costa, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Hosting infrastructures: SBI Galway Bay Cabled Observatory, Ireland; NIVA MS Color Fantasy, Norway; HCMR Heraklion Coastal Buoy, Greece

Main Objectives

The main goal of the submitted research project is the assessment of the presence and prevalence of microplastic particles (MP) in European waters. From the collected particles, an exhaustive repository of the identified MPs will be created, allowing the access of both researchers and the general public to said repository. Ideally, the repository will contain a catalogue of the collected MPs and their respective characterization data, including – but not limited to – FTIR and/or Raman spectroscopies and optical and/or electron microscopies.

Additionally, ecotoxicological assays, using representative key species, will be carried out, thus filling the existent knowledge gap pertaining to MP pollution in aquatic systems and the lack of standard operating procedures (SOP) for the assessment of MP toxicity.

When successful, this project will provide the basis for the development of monitoring approaches for plastics and subsequent recommendations to be included in water policies and management strategies. These objectives can be divided into two distinct categories:

  1. Scientific
    1. Collection, cataloguing and storage of MP from aquatic systems;
    2. Assessment of ecotoxicological risks and effects of microplastics using adapted standardized methodologies;
    3. Development of SOP for evaluating MP toxicity;
    4. Dissemination of the generated and gathered data.
  2. Socio-economic
    1. Effectively contributing to the development and establishment of water policies and
    2. Making significant contributions to the development of potential MP-related pollution ecotoxicology evaluation and subsequent development of specific regulations.