At the Microplastics Workshop 2022 which took place a few days ago at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the PhD candidate, Hayley Mcilwraith presented one of our most recent researches on microplastic pollution- a collaboration between Plymouth Marine Lab, the University of East Anglia and Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation.
Research on microplastic pollution has been a key priority for Archipelagos Institute since 2009. Over the past year we have had an additional research focus investigating how vegetation type and structural complexity influences microplastic retention in coastal wetlands, with a focus on seagrasses and saltmarshes. Through a series of lab-based and field experiments, we aim to investigate how diverse types of microplastics – differing in shape, size, and density – interact in these systems and whether they follow a similar pathway to natural sediments.
The outcomes of this study will enrich our understanding of coastal vegetation as a microplastics sink, inform where plastics are most likely to accumulate, and provide a basis for harnessing these characteristics to create nature-based solutions for microplastic clean-up.