Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation Michael Wiest and Regina Wang Archipelagos: - marine conservation institute on a Greek island - about 30 interns at a time from many different countries What we did in Greece: -Surveys (terrestrial & marine) -Necropsy (golden jackal) -Jackal surveys (Emily’s work) -Wildlife Library Main Project: -Microplastics! Terrestrial Surveys: Chameleons! And: hedgehogs and terrapins Marine surveys: -Underwater visual census Awesome Cuttlefish! And finally: MICROPLASTICS!!! What are microplastics? • Plastic fragments <5mm (>500µm) • Typically: polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride • plastic resin pellets, plastic products, plastic product fragments, fibres, rubber, Styrofoam, plastic sheets and sponges Source and prevalence • Macroplastics: fishing gear, industrial production, littering, and waste effluent • Microplastics: result from photo, thermo-oxidative, bio, and physical degradation. Chemicals contain them. Shipping • Found on all 6 continents • Accumulate in high pressure areas (gyres) Broader Implications • Plastics resist biodegradation due to short biological timespan • Can accumulate in organisms • Microplastics accumulate Persistent Organic Pollutants (polychlorinated biphenyl, Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethy lene (DDT), Biphenol A) Archipelagos past research • 18 H. forskali and 4 H. tubulosa sampled: – 24 hour sampling period – Plastics found in all samples (max 32 fibres) • 114 beach sites in 2009, 49 sites in 2011. – Plastics at all sites – Max concentration was 112 fibres/sample Methodology • Sediment: – Add saturated NaCl soln. Agitate and let settle – Filter and analyze through microscope. • Holothurians: – Keep in filtered sea water 24 hrs. – Return to sea. Agitate and filter sea water. Analyze Ongoing research • Altered methodology for mass measurements • Take sediment samples at depth rather than distance from shore. • Added sampling in proximity of Holothuria for concentration comparison • Sampling sites on Samos and six sites on Oinousses • Regina analyzed fish guts to study travel through trophic levels. Sediment results Average plastics at depth Fibers Fibers Total plastics at depth Fibers/gram sediment Holothuria results Concentration difference (Holothuria) Some pictures of fun times! Some pictures of fun times! Some pictures of fun times! Some pictures of fun times!