GVSU researchers investigate biological, chemical effects of microplastics

GVSU researchers investigate biological, chemical effects of microplastics

Well we know that microplastics have
become quite a hot topic here in the Great Lakes as well as out in the oceans,
we have talked about the garbage patches out in the Pacific Ocean, so with all the
concerns about plastics we started an experiment last spring basically to look
at three different kinds of plastics that are incubating for one month and
three months in two different locations in Muskegon Lake at two different depths,
to see what kind of organic chemicals attached to these plastics, because that
can be a source of toxicity for fish and other aquatic organisms as well as what
kind of organisms colonize these plastic spheres because we don’t know what’s
colonizing them so it’s going to be a kind of a two-fold experiment in terms
of really going out and seeing what’s attaching to these plastics as opposed
to most of the studies that have gone out and just to see more plastics are
there. In this case we’re taking known amounts of three known types of plastics
and see what happens. Ultimately this will help tell us what kinds are more toxic
than others and where that toxicity is coming from because right now we know
there are problems but we don’t know why, we don’t know the mechanisms by
which they’re a problem so there are direct impacts from plastics where
animals might ingest them and it was might clog there systems inside or there
could be indirect where they’re taking up the plastics but
the plastics have basically toxic chemicals attached to them and then it’s
the toxic chemicals that are actually impacting the animals, this will tell us
how important those toxic chemicals are they’re attached to different kinds of
plastics. Are there certain types of chemicals that adhere more than others?
do they adhere to one kind of plastic versus another kind of plastic? So it
really gives us a better understanding of what the nature of the problem is.

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