Microplastics Research Internships

Laboratory Research & Microplastics

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Laboratory Research & Microplastics

Background

Over the last few decades problems related to microplastic has gained even more interest, fast becoming a topic that has generated an increasing international big concern related to the health of the marine life and human welfare. Every ocean, sea and waterway are affected by this source of contamination and the Mediterranean Sea is not an exception as it represents one of the more impacted seas. Recent investigations have revealed that different compartments of marine life are interested in microplastic contamination and, as the Aegean Sea is one of the most important marine biodiversity hotspots in the Mediterranean, it is crucial to preserve the integrity of this ecosystem by studying the impact that microplastics have caused. In our laboratories we investigate the abundance of microplastics from different sources including water, sediment, Posidonia oceanica seagrass, sea urchins and wild and farmed fish to infer information about the potential spatial distribution and biomagnification in the trophic net.

Laboratory research team

Laboratory activity is studied in our Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary, and it’s characterised by sample analysis sometimes obtained directly from fieldwork such as sediment and seagrass collection and other times previously collected and stored for further analysis, such as fish. The analysis consists of the phase of sample pretreatment as sedimentation and digestion and, after filtration, the microplastics are counted and photographed using a stereomicroscope. The microplastic laboratory team is usually a team of two to seven people who assist the researchers, we work in a small group at any given time to prevent the occurrence of possible contamination.

Examples of recent internship projects

• Microplastic detection in the blades of Posidonia oceanica from different beaches and depths in Lipsi and Samos islands.
• Comparison of microplastic quantities in sediments, with and without seagrass meadows.
• Comparison of microplastic quantities between wild and farmed fish near Leros fish farm.
• Difference in microplastic quantities between invasive (Arbacia lixula) and native sea urchins (Diadema setosum).

Your role

The internship will consist of both fieldwork and laboratory work, although this heavily depends on the type of project and samples. You will be able to assist or lead the activities in fieldwork in order to obtain samples and execute proper laboratory protocols and statistical data analysis. Even though we are open to accepting new ideas and projects we try to maintain our line of research, however, we accept different proposals if this is properly planned with anticipation, due to the tight laboratory schedule and consumable availability. We often evaluate the proposals in collaboration with other universities if it exists the possibility to create some relationship to execute further analysis such as FTIR and Raman spectroscopy.

Technical skills

• Working towards or completion of a relevant scientific degree
• Previous experience in the laboratory activity
• Previous experience in microscope analysis (desirable)
• Previous experience in microplastic/or water quality analysis (desirable)
• Previous experience in fieldwork (desirable)
• Knowledge in the application of statistics, with some experience in a programming language such as R or Python.

Other skills

• Fluency in English
• Good communication skills
• Good attitude to work in a team
• Motivation to work long hours in the laboratory and with the microscope
• Good snorkeling skills
• Ability to work in a multicultural environment
• Motivation to live in remote places with simple facilities
• Sincere desire to work towards Archipelagos’ conservation efforts

Procedure

To apply for this internship, please send an email to our admissions team outlining your program of interest and requesting an application form - [email protected] We will get back to you within 2 working days.

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