I come from Denmark where I study Aquatic Science and Technology at Technical University of Denmark. I came to Archipelagos for 4 months to be a part of the Marine Mammal Team, in the subteam Microplastics. In the Microplastics team I am working on a project assessing the microplastic content in gastrointestinal tracts of marine megafauna in the Aegean Sea.

I have a background in Engineering, where I have worked with microplastics and statistics before, which I have applied on the project. I am definitely learning more and more about the biology associated with microplastics and animals ingestion of microplastics.

I am contributing by being in the Microplastics Laboratory, where I and the rest of the team work with filtering and analysing the stomach, intestine and oesophagus content of dead marine megafauna individuals. I then do data entry, where I do statistics and quantifications of the amount of microplastics found in the different individuals/species.

My working day varies a lot, as I am both working in the field, in the laboratory and at my desk. I mostly spend my time in the laboratory, where I look for microplastic in the different samples. When I am in the field, I collect samples. This could be on a boat surveys, where I also help out with observation of cetaceans. When I was coming here, I wanted to get more experience in field work and laboratory work, which I have gotten. I also really wanted to know more about the quantifications of microplastics in cetaceans, as I have not worked with cetaceans before.

I really like working in the field and be on boat surveys, where I can work first hand with the sampling and do practically work. But as my work varies a lot, I rarely get tired of what I am doing.

We have not finished our project yet, but I can say, that we do find a lot of both macro- and microplastics in the cetaceans we have analysed. Much more than I had expected.
Overall my experience at Archipelagos Institute has been very positive.

Frederikke Ebba Vang