Transport and fate of microplastics in estuaries

Microplastics are a current hot topic, yet we know little about them in terms of the processes influencing their fate. In particular, estuaries are sites which receive large inputs of microplastics (via rivers), and yet little is known on what happens to this plastic inside the estuary (although it is generally assumed to be exported to the oceans). My research focuses on understanding the fate and transport of microplastics in estuaries, through a combination of field and laboratory work.

One element of this has been sampling water through tidal cycles in a salt marsh local to NOCS (Hythe, Southampton Water. Boscorf microscope facilities were used to enable enumeration and characterisation of potential microplastic fibres from these filtered water samples. Initial results suggest that estuaries may be a site of deposition for microplastics in the intertidal.

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