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Microplastic pollution in the Northeast Atlantic: First long-term record from deep water layers of the open ocean

04.07.2022 11:00

IOW researchers Joanna Waniek (l.) and Janika Reineccius (r.)
For the first time, IOW researchers Joanna Waniek (l.) and Janika Reineccius (r.) analyzed a 12-year long-term sample series from 2000 m water depth on microplastic pollution in the Northeast Atlantic. (Photo: IOW / K. Beck)

Scientists from the IOW for the first time analysed a long-term sample series on microplastic pollution in the Northeast Atlantic from 2000 m water depth with respect to number, size, mass, material and possible origin of the particles. Samples were collected between 2003 – 2015 in the Madeira Basin by a sediment trap. Plastic type and particle amount varied widely, but accounted for up to 8% of total particle flux. The most common plastic materials were polyethylene and PVC. The results provide insights into the temporal variability of sinking microplastics and thus a first approach to understanding their fate in the ocean.

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