Monitoring of Microplastics in the Marine Environment

Changing Directions towards Quality Controlled Tailored Solutions

image of Monitoring of Microplastics in the Marine Environment

The need for harmonized monitoring protocols for marine microplastic has been discussed for many years, but how to reach this goal has not been agreed upon. Important questions addressed when microplastics are monitored are: how to carry out field sampling, how to eliminate other particulate matter from a sample without harming the microplastics, and how to accurately identify the particles, while also preventing and assessing potential sample contamination at each step from sampling to analyses. In the project HARMIC, Nordic scientist with long term experience in microplastic research, applied and evaluated different methods for sampling and sample preparation relevant for the establishment of common guidelines. The outcomes of the studies are discussed from a monitoring perspective, including aspects of quality assurance and quality control.



Water sampling

Many plastic polymers are lighter than water and are expected to float on the surface. This has resulted in most studies focusing on the microplastics on the water surface. An important part of HARMIC was therefore to compare the amount of microplastics at different depths of the water column. In summary the aim of this part of the study was to:


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