Microplastics represent a new area, both for research and for concern. Research in this field has exploded in the last 5 years, with the realization that there are tens, maybe hundreds, of trillions of individual plastic particles out there in the marine and estuarine environment. Their numbers, types, interactions with organisms, and ultimate fates are still poorly known. My lab works primarily on 2 areas: determining the abundances and dynamics of micro plastics in Georgia’s coastal estuaries, and in examining their photochemistry in these environments. I work extensively with Dodie Sanders, a marine educator at our partner here in the UGA Marine Extension Service. She in turn works with a dedicated group of volunteers who gather samples and help us process and count micro plastics. Over the past few summers we have also worked with summer interns (see the SkIO summer internship program) who have collected samples from along the coast and examined patterns of contamination in organisms such as oysters. If you are an undergraduate interested in coming to Savannah and working for a couple of months on this subject please look at the internship program and apply if it looks like it might work for you. I would also love to work with students interested in graduate degrees, but that depends on external funding, which is more difficult to get. But if interested I am happy to discuss.
Questions on this subject are welcomed, just e-mail me and I will get back to you!
Some links to our work:
There is also a SkIO page with some useful links on micro plastics and plastic pollution.