A comparison of sampling methods for seawater microplastics and a first report of the microplastic litter in coastal waters of Ascension and Falkland Islands

Dannielle S. Green*, Louise Kregting, Bas Boots, David J. Blockley, Paul Brickle, Marushka da Costa, Quentin Crowley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)
197 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

To date there is no gold standard for sampling microplastics. Zooplankton sampling methods, such as plankton and Neuston nets, are commonly used to estimate the concentrations of microplastics in seawater, but their ability to detect microplastics is limited by their mesh size. We compared different net-based sampling methods with different mesh sizes including bongo nets (>500 μm), manta nets (>300 μm) and plankton nets (>200 μm and >400 μm) to 1 litre bottle grabbed, filtered (0.45 μm) samples. Concentrations of microplastics estimated using net-based methods were ~3 orders of magnitude less than those estimated by 1 litre grab samples. Some parts of the world with low human populations, such as Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands, lack baseline data on microplastics. Using the bottle grab sampling method we found that microplastic litter was present at these remote locations and was comparable to levels of contamination in more populated coastal regions, such as the United Kingdom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume137
Early online date15 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Anthropogenic litter
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Grab samples
  • Microfibres
  • Nets
  • Remote

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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