Microplastics Research Internships

Research on Microplastics, Marine Litter & Water Quality

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Research on Microplastics, Marine Litter & Water Quality


Plastic pollution is a global issue under the attention of a vast number of disciplines, ranging from science to arts & media. Plastic debris and microplastics pose one of the greatest threats to the unique biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea. Archipelagos was the first institute to start research in microplastics in Greece in 2009. Our research is focused on the Aegean Sea where a limited amount of research is carried out to quantify the consequences of the plastic pollution in various levels of marine ecosystems. Given the natural and socioeconomic importance of the region, plastic pollution poses a serious threat to both marine and human life.

Program Description

Archipelagos’ goal is to quantify the sources and main ecosystem impacts of microplastics and plastic debris in the Aegean Sea. Interns will assist with ongoing research, including:

  • Microplastic content in the digestive systems of commercially important local fish and invertebrates
  • Microplastics in the seas’ surface water and water column by collecting samples through boat and kayak surveys using manta and plankton nets
  • Microplastics in freshwater samples (e.g. rivers, streams, wetlands and underground water bodies)
  • Microplastic content in the digestive systems of stranded marine animals (e.g. dolphins, sea turtles, monk seals)
  • Sediment core sampling of various substrates (e.g. wetlands, seabeds, sand)
  • Coastal marine litter monitoring during daily/weekly surveys on targeted beaches around the Aegean Islands.
  • Floating marine litter monitoring by boat-based and ferry-based surveys.
  • Analysis of water quality in drinking and bathing waters on various islands of the Aegean Sea

These projects provide fieldwork and hands-on research opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students and for other early career researchers looking to gain field-research experience. Participants have the opportunity to collect data, thus producing a thesis and various scientific publications (you can view Archipelagos researchers' scientific publications that interns contributed to, here). This internship provides skills and expertise valuable for a professional career in marine conservation and environmental management.

Interns have the opportunity to conduct independent research projects, for university credit or for a thesis/dissertation.

Applicant profile

This internship program is available to applicants who have completed at least one year of college or university studies in marine, environmental, geographical and/or related sciences.

Applicants must be able to work both independently and as part of a dynamic, multi-cultural, multidisciplinary team.

Additional skills required:

  • Experience in snorkeling, free-diving and/or kayaking (optional)
  • Capacity for accurate and consistent data collection and analysis
  • Comfortable to work independently in a simple laboratory facility
  • Ability to write scientific reports and papers
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a dynamic, multi-cultural, multidisciplinary team.
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills
  • High standard of work
  • Fluency in English
  • Sincere desire to work towards Archipelagos’ conservation efforts
  • Motivation to live in a small island community in simple facilities and to be adaptable to life onboard Archipelagos’ research vessels.

Additional Information

Internship duration normally ranges between 3 - 12 months, although shorter or longer internship periods may be arranged to cover the needs of groups or individuals.

Archipelagos’ research bases and stations are in the Eastern Aegean Sea, on the islands of Samos and Lipsi as well as onboard the research vessels. Interns often move between research bases and boats depending on where the surveys will take place.

As a non-profit research institute, the internships we offer are unpaid. This educational/research experience requires a monthly fee of 650 euro to cover living expenses, the cost of training, use of research equipment and travelling with the research vessels, use of the office facilities, as well as insurance.
For internships of less than 3 months in duration the participation fees are raised to 780 euro per month.

Please note that travel costs to and from the research base are not included in the fees and are covered by the participant.

Students and recent graduates and researchers are advised to search for possible funding through their universities, by getting in touch with the International Office/ Placement/ Erasmus+ Offices at their Universities or other relevant grant providing organizations in their region.

To apply, please send your motivation letter, your CV, a copy of your resume, cover letter and one reference letter (if available) to [email protected]