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Microplastic Monitoring Workshop at the Seattle Aquarium

OCTOBER 7, 2019 — On October 1-2, the NOAA Marine Debris Program Pacific Regional Coordinator, Nir Barnea, participated in the Microplastic Monitoring Workshop, conducted at the Seattle Aquarium.

Group posing for photo by the Seattle Aquarium
Workshop participants near the Seattle Aquarium. Image credit: NOAA.

The workshop, coordinated by the Seattle Aquarium, brought together microplastic researchers from universities in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia to share knowledge and on-going microplastic research, as well as discuss future steps to strengthen collaboration among the researchers. Participants discussed methods and results of tissue, water, and sediment sampling, sampling quality control, and contamination management. Participants also discussed ways to collaborate with community science efforts, and how to communicate the science with the public, and with policy and decision makers.

Reflecting on the level of details and wide array of research done presently, it is impressive how much the research and knowledge of microplastics has advanced since 2008, when researchers from the U.S. and abroad convened for the first microplastic workshop at the University of Washington in Tacoma. Back then, for example, microfibers were not even mentioned. Now they are a major source of microplastic pollution in the environment, and often consist of over 90% by count of the microplastics sampled.

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Woman speaking next to a large image projected on a screen.
Julie Masura, with the University of Washington/Tacoma, discusses microplastics sampling methods. Image credit: NOAA.
Last updated Friday, October 11, 2019 3:56pm PDT