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OR&R Highlights Plastic Debris Research in the Great Lakes Basin at International Research Conference

JUNE 17, 2024 — The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) held its 67th annual Conference on Great Lakes Research from May 20-24, 2024, in Windsor, Ontario. More than 700 freshwater researchers and practitioners from across the Laurentian Great Lakes region and African Great Lakes met. More than 600 presentations took place throughout the week’s nearly 50 sessions, all while exploring the theme of “Shared Lakes: One Water, One Health.”

Presentation slide titled, "Plastic Debris."
Introduction to the Plastic Debris Session at the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) 67th annual Conference on Great Lakes Research. Image credit: NOAA.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Great Lakes Regional Coordinator chaired a session called, “Plastic Debris in the Great Lakes Basin: Sources, Impacts, and Best Actions,”  alongside supporting chairs from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Western University, and Trent University.

Much of the research shared was centered on microplastics and a few talks discussed macro debris mitigation. The environmental compartments studied ranged from composts and agricultural soils to stormwater ponds in Ontario and green frog tadpoles in Michigan. The session’s concluding panel, "The Minutiae of Microplastics Research,” encouraged select speakers to consider shared challenges and opportunities for collective progress, even across seemingly different research mediums. 

The session room also served as a display hub for traveling artwork from the Synthetic Collective, an interdisciplinary collaboration between visual artists, cultural workers, and scientists who sample, understand, and visualize the complexities of plastics pollution in the Great Lakes Region.

Last updated Thursday, June 20, 2024 3:02pm PDT