SFEI science will feature prominently at the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego next week:
- Rain Gardens Mitigate Microplastics Entering Aquatic Habitats - Diana Lin, Tuesday poster session, 5:15-7:30pm
- Raman Analysis: Using Spectroscopy to Identify Microplastics in Complex Matrices - Xia Zhu (University of Toronto), Tuesday poster session, 5:15-7:30pm
- Characterizing Microplastics in San Francisco Bay and Adjacent National Marine Sanctuaries to Inform Regional Policy Recommendations - Carolynn Box (5 Gyres), Wednesday 11:00am
- Aerial Imagery and Machine Learning to Advance Trash Monitoring Methods - Tony Hale, Wednesday 2:00pm
- Source to Sea Transport of Microplastics: Modeling Fate and Transport in San Francisco Bay and the Coastal Ocean - Rusty Holleman, Thursday 9:15am
In addition, Drs. Chelsea Rochman and Kara Lavendar Law, expert advisors to the RMP's microplastics workgroup, are keynote speakers on Tuesday and are moderating and presenting in a number of sessions.
Related Projects, News, and Events:
Plastic pollution is gaining global recognition as a threat to the resilience and productivity of ocean ecosystems. However, we are only just beginning to understand the scope and impacts of microplastic particles (less than 5 mm) on coastal and ocean resources, and the San Francisco Bay Area is no exception. A preliminary study of nine water sites in San Francisco Bay, published in 2016, showed greater levels of microplastics than the Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay.
The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), in close partnership with the State Water Board, has recognized the importance of standard methods for trash monitoring and has funded this project. The Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) and San Francisco Bay Estuary Institute (SFEI) have partnered up to test multiple trash monitoring methods with a goal of developing a library of methods with known levels of precision, accuracy, and cross-comparability of results, and linking these methods to specific management questions.
Rebecca Sutton, Meg Sedlak, and Diana Lin of SFEI, in partnership with Carolynn Box of 5 Gyres, conducted ocean water sampling associated with an ambitious project. The project is focused on determining the characteristics and fate of microplastics in the Bay and adjacent ocean waters. KQED reporter Lindsey Hoshaw published a story covering the team's activities along the California coast. After determinng that the Bay has greater than expected microplastic pollution, the science team, as reported by Hoshaw's story, is conducting further ground-breaking research.
SFEI and The 5 Gyres Institute have launched an ambitious two-year research project to monitor San Francisco Bay for pollution in the form of tiny particles of plastic pollution, reports ABC7 News. These microplastic particles are eaten by local fish, according to previous studies, which can expose them to harmful contaminants.
A two-year investigation on microplastic and nanoplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay and the surrounding ocean will launch this month, led by two research centers, the San Francisco Estuary Institute and the 5 Gyres Institute.