Department

Department of Health and Science

First Advisor

Kirsten Kapp

Description

Marine debris, microplastic (marine debris <5 mm) in particular, are gaining a significant amount of attention in scientific and conservation communities. Debris poses a threat to marine biota not only because they are consumed but also because they sorb potentially harmful toxins such as POP’s and metals while leaching out additives such as phthalates and bisphenol A, both of which could cause adverse effects (Rochman et al, 2013). While much research has focused on marine environments and the oceans, less attention has been placed on freshwater systems. Of the few studies conducted in fresh water locations, high concentrations of microplastics in the Great Lakes (Eriksen et al, 2013), in Lake Geneva, (Faure et al, 2012) and in Lake Hovsgol, a remote lake in the mountainous region of Mongolia (Free et al, 2014) were revealed. Wagner et al (2014) express that to understand the full impacts of microplastic in the environment, freshwater monitoring for the presence and abundance of microplastics is a necessary next step. One liter samples of water were collected along different points on the Snake River and Palisades Reservoir. Samples were then processed through a 0.45micrometer filter using a vacuum pump filtration system. Compound light and stereoscope microscopes were used to analyze the filtered samples and identify possible microplastics. This study along with others conducted on freshwater systems will be of value to understanding the prevalence and abundance of microplastic in freshwater systems and eventually lead to mitigation efforts.

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The Presence of Microplastics in Fresh Water Systems: The Snake River and Palisades Reservoir

Marine debris, microplastic (marine debris <5 >mm) in particular, are gaining a significant amount of attention in scientific and conservation communities. Debris poses a threat to marine biota not only because they are consumed but also because they sorb potentially harmful toxins such as POP’s and metals while leaching out additives such as phthalates and bisphenol A, both of which could cause adverse effects (Rochman et al, 2013). While much research has focused on marine environments and the oceans, less attention has been placed on freshwater systems. Of the few studies conducted in fresh water locations, high concentrations of microplastics in the Great Lakes (Eriksen et al, 2013), in Lake Geneva, (Faure et al, 2012) and in Lake Hovsgol, a remote lake in the mountainous region of Mongolia (Free et al, 2014) were revealed. Wagner et al (2014) express that to understand the full impacts of microplastic in the environment, freshwater monitoring for the presence and abundance of microplastics is a necessary next step. One liter samples of water were collected along different points on the Snake River and Palisades Reservoir. Samples were then processed through a 0.45micrometer filter using a vacuum pump filtration system. Compound light and stereoscope microscopes were used to analyze the filtered samples and identify possible microplastics. This study along with others conducted on freshwater systems will be of value to understanding the prevalence and abundance of microplastic in freshwater systems and eventually lead to mitigation efforts.