Occurence of Microplastics in the Antarctic Seas
Third-party funded project
Project title Occurence of Microplastics in the Antarctic Seas
Principal Investigator(s) Holm, Patricia
Co-Investigator(s) Leistenschneider, Clara
Segner, Helmut
Amaral Zettler , Linda
Gerdts, Gunnar
Meyer, Bettina
Project Members Mani, Thomas
Organisation / Research unit Departement Umweltwissenschaften / Aquatische Ökologie (Holm)
Project start 01.05.2019
Probable end 30.04.2020
Status Completed
Abstract

We aim to advance our knowledge and understanding of the sources of microplastics (MP) in the remote Antarctic marine ecosystem. By applying material flow analysis and integrating the results into an ocean circulation model, we will evaluate the evidence that MP can cross the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) into the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

A successful outcome will include achieving the following goals:

  • Providing baseline information on concentrations, composition and distribution of MP in surface waters from the Southern Ocean,
  • Evaluate the sources of MP in the Southern Ocean, by: (1) comparing MPs in the more anthropogenically impacted Scotia Sea (SS) and Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) versus relatively pristine Weddell Sea (WS) and (2) modeling MP transport within and to/from Antarctica.
  • These comparisons will be based on: (a) characterization of MP properties, such as particle morphology, polymer composition, extent of degradation, and (b) analysis of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) loads, and (c) examination of the microbial communities of the MP (Plastisphere).
  • Modeling the potential contribution of local sources, such as Waste Water Treatment

Plant (WWTP) effluents from vessels and research bases, for MP contamination of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

Keywords Microplastics, Antarctic
Financed by Foundations and Associations
University of Basel
   

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14/08/2020