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BONUS MICROPOLL: BONUS MICROPOLL - Multilevel assessment of microplastics and associated pollutants in the Baltic Sea

The focus of the planned project will be on the multilevel impacts of microplastics (MP) themselves, of associated pollutants and of attached biofilms on the ecosystem Baltic Sea. The hazard potential and impacts of these substances will be determined by i) detecting the recent status regarding MP in the Baltic Sea (abundance, composition, sources, sinks), ii) exploring the vector function of MP for associated pollutants and biofilms, and iii) in situ and laboratory experiments, exposing marine organisms from different trophic levels (pro- as well as eukaryotic) to defined levels and size classes of MP and POPs. The gained knowledge will enable us to create spatio-temporal scenarios and simulations for MP transfer and circulation, which will help to understand the mitigation processes of MP and associated pollutants/biofilms in the Baltic Sea. We will be able to assess the risk originating from MP and to develop indicators and suggest monitoring strategies regarding MP and associated pollutants, this way contributing to the implementation of the MSFD. One potential application to reach good ecological status will be evaluated within the project, namely a wastewater treatment technology, which retains efficiently microplastics and xenobiotics.


  • Schernewski, G. & Labrenz, M. (2023): Marine Litter. HELCOM Change in the Baltic Sea Fact Sheet 
  • Čerkasova, N., K. Enders, R. Lenz, S. Oberbeckmann, J. Brandt, D. Fischer, F. Fischer, M. Labrenz and G. Schernewski (2023). A public database for microplastics in the environment. Microplastics 2: 132-146, doi: 10.3390/microplastics2010010
  • Schernewski, G. and H. Radtke (2022). Microplastic in the Baltic Sea - State, Sources, Behavior and Retention Measures. In: 16th International Conference Littoral22 Book of Abstracts. Ed. by J. C. Ferreira, M. Ferreira, C. Jóia Santos and C. Macedo Duarte. Caparica,  Portugal: NOVA School of Science and Technology | FCT NOVA: 207-209, 978-972- 99923-6-0
  • Escobar-Sánchez, G., G. Markfort, M. Berghald, L. Ritzenhofen and G. Schernewski (2022). Aerial and underwater drones for marine litter monitoring in shallow coastal waters: factors influencing item detection and cost-efficiency. Environ. Monit. Assess. 194: 863, doi: 10.1007/s10661-022-10519-5
  • Lenz, R., K. Enders, F. Fischer, J. Brandt, D. Fischer and M. Labrenz (2021). Measuring impacts of microplastic treatments via image recognition on immobilised particles below 100 μm. Microplastics and Nanoplastics 1: 12, doi: 10.1186/s43591-021-00012-0
  • Robbe, E., J. Woelfel, A. Balčiūnas and G. Schernewski (2021). An impact assessment of beach wrack and litter on beach ecosystem services to support coastal management at the Baltic Sea. Environ. Manage. 68: 835-859, doi: 10.1007/s00267-021-01533-3
  • Schernewski, G., H. Radtke, E. Robbe, M. Haseler, R. Hauk, L. Meyer, S. Piehl, J. Riedel and M. Labrenz (2021). Emission, transport, and deposition of visible plastics in an estuary and the Baltic Sea - a monitoring and modeling approach. Environ. Manage. 68: 860-881, doi: 10.1007/s00267-021-01534-2
  • Oberbeckmann, S., S. Markert and M. Labrenz (2021). Mikrobieller Plastikabbau im Meer: die Suche nach dem Unwahrscheinlichen. BIOspektrum 27: 358-361, doi: 10.1007/s12268-021-1591-7
  • Scales, B. S., R. N. Cable, M. B. Duhaime, G. Gerdts, F. Fischer, D. Fischer, S. Mothes, L. Hintzki, L. Moldaenke, M. Ruwe, J. Kalinowski, B. Kreikemeyer, M.-L. Pedrotti, G. Gorsky, A. Elineau, M. Labrenz and S. Oberbeckmann (2021). Cross-hemisphere study reveals geographically ubiquitous, plastic-specific bacteria emerging from the rare and unexplored biosphere. mSphere 6: e0085120, doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00851-20
  • Oberbeckmann, S., D. Bartosik, S. Huang, J. Werner, C. Hirschfeld, D. Wibberg, S. E. Heiden, B. Bunk, J. Overmann, D. Becher, J. Kalinowski, T. Schweder, M. Labrenz and S. Markert (2021). Genomic and proteomic profiles of biofilms on microplastics are decoupled from artificial surface properties. Environ. Microbiol. 23: 3099-3115, doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15531
  • Piehl, S., R. Hauk, E. Robbe, B. Richter, F. Kachholz, J. Schilling, R. Lenz, D. Fischer, F. Fischer, M. Labrenz and G. Schernewski (2021). Combined approaches to predict microplastic emissions within an urbanized estuary (warnow, southwestern baltic sea). Front. Environ. Sci. 9: 616765, doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.616765
  • Klaeger, F. and S. Oberbeckmann (2020). Multilevel assessment of microplastics and associated pollutants in the Baltic Sea. The project repository journal : prj / EDMA 7: 40-43
  • Schernewski, G., H. Radtke, R. Hauk, C. Baresel, M. Olshammar and S. Oberbeckmann (2021). Urban microplastics emissions: Effectiveness of retention measures and consequences for the Baltic Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 8: 208, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.594415
  • Enders, K., A. S. Tagg and M. Labrenz (2020). Evaluation of electrostatic separation of microplastics from mineral-rich environmental samples. Front. Environ. Sci. 8: 112, doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.00112
  • Brandt, J., F. Fischer, E. Kanaki, K. Enders, M. Labrenz and D. Fischer (2021). Assessment of subsampling strategies in microspectroscopy of environmental microplastic samples. Front. Environ. Sci. 8: 579676, doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.579676
  • Escobar-Sánchez, G., M. Haseler, N. Oppelt and G. Schernewski (2021). Efficiency of aerial drones for macrolitter monitoring on Baltic Sea beaches. Front. Environ. Sci. 8: 560237, doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.560237
  • Kesy, K., M. Labrenz, B. S. Scales, B. Kreikemeyer and S. Oberbeckmann (2021). Vibrio colonization is highly dynamic in early microplastic-associated biofilms as well as on field-collected microplastics. Microorganisms 9: 76, doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9010076
  • Osinski, R. D., K. Enders, U. Gräwe, K. Klingbeil and H. Radtke (2020). Model uncertainties of a storm and their influence on microplastics and sediment transport in the Baltic Sea. Ocean Sci. 16: 1491-1507, doi: 10.5194/os-16-1491-2020
  • Haseler, M., A. Balciunas, R. Hauk, V. Sabaliauskaite, I. Chubarenko, A. Ershova and G. Schernewski (2020). Marine litter pollution in Baltic Sea beaches – application of the sand rake method. Front. Environ. Sci. 8: 599978, doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.599978
  • Schernewski, G., H. Radtke, R. Hauk, C. Baresel, M. Olshammar, R. Osinski and S. Oberbeckmann (2020). Transport and behavior of microplastics emissions from urban sources in the Baltic Sea. Front. Environ. Sci. 8: 579361, doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.579361
  • Kataržytė, M., A. Balčiūnas, M. Haseler, V. Sabaliauskaitė, L. Lauciūtė, K. Stepanova, C. Nazzari and G. Schernewski (2020). Cigarette butts on Baltic Sea beaches: Monitoring, pollution and mitigation measures. Mar. Poll. Bull. 156: 111248, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111248
  • Osinski, R. D. and H. Radtke (2020). Ensemble hindcasting of wind and wave conditions with WRF and WAVEWATCH III® driven by ERA5. Ocean Sci. 16: 355-371, doi: 10.5194/os-16-355-2020
  • Enders, K., R. Lenz, J. A. Ivar do Sul, A. S. Tagg and M. Labrenz (2020). When every particle matters: A QuEChERS approach to extract microplastics from environmental samples. MethodsX 7: 100784, doi: 10.1016/j.mex.2020.100784
  • Tagg, A. S., S. Oberbeckmann, D. Fischer, B. Kreikemeyer and M. Labrenz (2019). Paint particles are a distinct and variable substrate for marine bacteria. Mar. Poll. Bull. 146: 117-124, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.06.013
  • Enders, K., A. Käppler, O. Biniasch, P. Feldens, N. Stollberg, X. Lange, D. Fischer, K.-J. Eichhorn, F. Pollehne, S. Oberbeckmann and M. Labrenz (2019). Tracing microplastics in aquatic environments based on sediment analogies. Sci. Rep. 9: 15207, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50508-2
  • Haseler, M. (2019). Hier und da und überall - Plastik in der marinen Umwelt. In: Weltmeere im Wandel. Ed. by B. Ratter. Hamburg: (Hamburger Symposium Geographie; Band 10) 10: 29-44,
  • Haseler, M., C. Weder, L. Buschbeck, S. Wesnigk and G. Schernewski (2019). Cost-effective monitoring of large micro- and meso-litter in tidal and flood accumulation zones at south-western Baltic Sea beaches. Mar. Poll. Bull. 149: 110544, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.110544
  • Janßen, R., J. Zabel, U. von Lukas and M. Labrenz (2019). An artificial neural network and Random Forest identify glyphosate-impacted brackish communities based on 16S rRNA amplicon MiSeq read counts. Mar. Poll. Bull. 149: 110530, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.110530
  • Kesy, K., S. Oberbeckmann, B. Kreikemeyer and M. Labrenz (2019). Spatial environmental heterogeneity determines young biofilm assemblages on microplastics in Baltic Sea mesocosms. Front. Microbiol. 10: 1665, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01665
  • Oberbeckmann, S. and M. Labrenz (2020). Marine microbial assemblages on microplastics: Diversity, adaptation, and role in degradation. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 12: 209-232, doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-010419-010633
  • Klaeger, F., A. S. Tagg, S. Otto, M. Bienmüller, I. Sartorius and M. Labrenz (2019). Residual monomer content affects the interpretation of plastic degradation. Sci. Rep. 9: 2120, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-38685-6
  • Haseler, M., G. Schernewski, A. Balciunas and V. Sabaliauskaite (2018). Monitoring methods for large micro- and meso-litter and applications at Baltic beaches. J. Coast. Conserv. 22: 27-50, doi: 10.1007/s11852-017-0497-5