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Small plastics, big problem: mircoplastics in the Arctic


Toronto, ON – Microplastics are global pollutants that are of increasing concern due to their durability, and physical and chemical hazards.  My research over the past year focuses on microplastics in the Eastern Canadian Arctic.  Little is known about the distribution and effects of microplastics in the Arctic, and this is one of the first large scale studies to investigate this. This is a collaborative project led by Dr. Rochman, Dr. Jantunen (from Environment Canada), and Dr. Corcoran (University of Western). I work in Dr Rochman’s lab at the University of Toronto, and have been processing the samples that were collected summer 2017.  The samples collected were zooplankton, water surface, and snow, and each of these mediums provides an important insight into the health of the Arctic.  The project aims to investigate the sources, effects, and distribution of microplastics in the Canadian Arctic. I am also hoping (pending funding) to use the results that I find and conduct toxicity tests this summer, to investigate the effect that is having on organisms.

The video, it is for a competition called ‘Science, Action!’ Which is hosted by the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).  The aim of the video competition is to tell a story about a fascinating science, and connect with Canadians to show them why research matters.  This video, produced with my lab-mate Cole Brookson has been selected for the top 75 videos nationally and is open to public viewing.  From those videos with the top 25 highest views, NSERC will choose winners and there is a special prize for research in the north, which we are hoping to succeed in.  If we were to win, the money would be used to fund further research on microplastics and their effects in the Arctic.

 

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