MICROPLASTICS & MICRODEBRIS

Unlocking the complexity and immense interconnectedness of the scientific mechanisms which dictate the properties and processes of the natural world is a major goal of the C-HaWQ. To this end, we seek to acquire a detailed understanding of many systems and how these various systems function together to generate the observations and measurements from our experimentation. Have a look at some of our projects below.

 

PLASTIC AND MERCURY IN LAVACA BAY

Overview: Coming Soon


Status: Beginning late summer or fall 2020


Project Lead: Jessica Myers, CMSS Master's Student

MICROPLASTICS IN WASTEWATER AND CORPUS CHRISTI BAY SEDIMENT

Overview: Coming Soon


Status: Sampling complete with sediment sample and data processing in progress

Project Lead: Katherine Nunez, ESCI Master's Student

MICROPLASTICS IN COASTAL TEXAS

Overview: This work, sponsored by the Texas General Land Office's Coastal Management Program, seeks to quantify the loading of microplastics from rivers and bays to coastal Texas. 


Status: Most sampling is complete and samples are being processed


Project Lead: Matt Watford, ESCI Master's Student

MICROPLASTICS IN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Overview: This project ended in 2019 and was generously funded by the NOAA Marine Debris Program. Data processing is ongoing to verify and validate results of the FTIR analysis. Base on the preliminary results it is clear that fully and semi-synthetic microplastics in the Mississippi River and their discharge into the Gulf of Mexico numbers in the trillions each day. The largest contributors to fully synthetic (polyethylene terephthalate) and semi-synthetic (a cotton blend) materials discharge 10-30 and 95-280 kg daily into the Gulf of Mexico. While the data still need refining, the samples collected during the lower river stage may have higher concentrations of fully and semi-synthetic microplastics.  Therefore, we will be further exploring options for presenting the data generated on semi-synthetic µDebris.

Status: Finished, but data verification and validation ongoing 

Project Lead: Katherine Martin, Lab Alumni


REMOTE SENSING OF BEACHED PLASTIC DEBRIS

Overview: Coming Soon


Status: Finished, but looking for funding to continue research. 


Project Lead: Kieu Tran, Lab Alumni

MICROPLASTIC CONTAMINATION IN CORPUS CHRISTI BAY BLUE CRABS, CALLINECTES SAPIDUS

Overview: This work was recently published in Limnology & Oceanography Letters

Plastic materials have been observed in marine and coastal ecosystems around the world and while their full effects are not completely understood, they negatively impact a variety of organisms. Invertebrates have been observed with plastic in their guts, but it is unknown if blue crabs, which are an important U.S. commercial and recreational fishery, consume these materials. This article reinforces the importance of quality control, proper methodology, and material confirmation in microplastic studies and provides evidence that blue crabs in Corpus Christi Bay, TX ingest microplastic fibers and particles.

Status: Finished and Published

Project Lead: Eli Waddel, Lab Alumni

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