Microplastics Research Internships

Laboratory Research & Microplastics

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Laboratory Research & Microplastics


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

The Mediterranean region has been noted to contain the sixth-largest accumulation of plastic debris on the planet. Archipelagos' research on plastic and microplastic pollution aims to inform and alert citizens and authorities. We focus on assessing the dispersal of plastic waste fragments and fibres in our seas, identifying the primary sources of microplastics, quantifying the extent of contamination, and determining the accumulation in the food chain. Laboratory activity is studied in our Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary. Work here is characterised by sample analysis obtained directly from fieldwork, such as sediment and seagrass collection, or by previously collections 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.

Examples of recent internship projects

  • Assessment of the role of seagrass meadows as a sink for microplastics.
  • Comparative analysis of microplastics found in wild and farmed fish.
  • Comparative analysis of microplastic found in native and invasive species of marine invertebrates (e.g. sea urchins).
  • Analysis of microplastic content found in commercial products such as table salt and fish food for aquaculture.
  • Assessment of the effectiveness of washing machine microfibre filters in mitigating the release of microplastics into the environment.
  • Assessment of the extent of microplastic pollution released by sewage treatment units.
  • Analysis of drinking water quality using various equipment including spectrophotometry.

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

What we offer

We offer an internship at an inspiring institute with experts on coastal conservation. You have the opportunity to collect data for writing a thesis, scientific publications or increasing your skillset within the marine conservation sector. Internships range from 3 - 12 months, although shorter or longer internship periods may be arranged to cover the needs of groups or individuals. As Archipelagos is a non-profit research institute, the internships we offer are unpaid. The experience requires an internship weekly fee of 200 - 245 euros to cover living and research expenses (e.g. housing, 3 meals a day, public liability insurance and other research facilities). 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 for this internship, please send an email to our admissions team outlining your program of interest and requesting an application form - admission[email protected]. We will get back to you within 2 working days.