CLAIM research topic: Investigating the distribution patterns of surface floating microplastics in the Mediterranean


CLAIM research topic: Investigating the distribution patterns of surface floating microplastics in the Mediterranean

A recent article from CLAIM’s research topic in Frontiers in Marine Science journal investigates the distribution patterns of surface floating microplastics (MPs) in the Ionian, Aegean, and Levantine Seas in relation to their sources and sea surface circulation.

CLAIM researchers Argyro Adamopoulou, Christina Zeri, Elli Pitta (HCMR), Francesca Garaventa, Chiara Gambardella (CNR-IAS) and Christos Ioakeimidis (UNEP/MAP), collected 84 samples from 2014 to 2020, using manta nets, covering open waters, coastal areas, and enclosed gulfs (Corfu and Saronikos). MPs concentration measurements revealed a wide range of variability, ranging from 0.012 to 1.62 items m², with no maximum concentrations seen around MPs hotspots.


Photo: Map of sampling positions in the Ionian, Aegean, and Levantine Seas for each of the seven campaigns from April 2014 to February 2020. In red circles the two enclosed gulfs sampled (A). Sampling positions in Corfu Gulf (B) and Saronikos Gulf (C). Black arrows denote surface currents.

Another method which the researchers used was spectroscopic analysis. In both the open sea and the gulfs, spectroscopic analysis of MPs indicated the presence of 11 polymer types, with polyethylene (PE) being the most abundant, followed by polypropylene (PP), and polystyrene (PS).

Their findings imply that the characteristics, size, and polymer types of MPs are influenced by their proximity to coastal population centers, and that MPs concentrations are influenced greatly by local oceanographic circumstances, such as surface slicks.

You can read more about the findings in the full paper.

 


 

This article is part of the research topic “Cleaning Litter by Developing and Applying Innovative Methods in European Seas” published in Frontiers of Marine Science.

You can read the next article about the third publication in the research topic here.

Category: CLAIM news, News


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