Research outputs

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Main research question/goal
The aim of the Interreg project MICRO (ILVO is coordinator) is to perform a risk and impact evaluation of microplastics on the 2 Seas area. The research questions include: “To what degree and in which location are microplastics present in the 2 Seas area? Which chemical and microbial loads can be found in and on the microplastics? What effect do they have on marine organisms? What is the socio-economic impact? Regular communication around this project is a main element. The final goal is to use this new data as support for regulations meant to limit the problem of microplastics in the marine environment.

Research approach
Each of the four work packages is further divided into several research activities; as coordinator, ILVO is involved in all of these. In the first activity, a transport model for microplastics is developed and validated through monitoring of samples. Then standard operating protocols for sampling are created. Finally, the chemical and microbial load of microplastics is evaluated. In the second activity, the effects of microplastics on marine organisms are assessed. Last, results from Activity 3 illustrate the socio-economic impact of microplastics. This last activity also includes the communication and dissemination of the results of the MICRO project. One of the work packages is realised in the form of doctoral research on the bacterial communities and bacterial degradation of plastic, supported by the ILVO Genomics Platform.

Microplastics in the marine environment pose a significant environmental threat and possibly also a public health problem. Research groups worldwide are working on the impact of microplastics. Within this project, the researchers explicitly choose to involve sectors such as mariculture, aquaculture, fisheries and waste operators in the research process as well as in the communication of the results with the aim of mitigation. Exchange of expertise, knowledge and resources is encouraged between the partners of this European cooperation. The results of the MICRO project are disseminated through scientific publications and international conferences. Politicians and policymakers are informed of the results (e.g. 4 newsletters in three languages and a stakeholder meeting). In addition, the public is informed through a variety of distribution channels (Facebook, blog, newsletter, website, press releases).

Funding provider(s)
Interreg IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën
Effective start/end date1/07/1230/09/14

ID: 4161587