Small Synthetics - A Study of Microplastics in Minnesota’s Inland Waters
July 13, 2020 at 9 AM CDT
Presentation Summary: Microplastics are very small plastic particles, less than 5 millimeters (or 1/20th of an inch) in size. They come from common items such as degraded plastic bags, synthetic clothes and textiles, some hygiene products, and cigarette filters. They are found across terrestrial, aquatic, and marine environments worldwide. These particles are speculated to negatively impact the aquatic environments and ecosystems, however, it is not known with certainty where these particles are in aquatic environments.
Research is currently being done to learn how much and what kinds of microplastics are found in four Minnesota sentinel lakes: Peltier, Elk, White Iron, and Ten Mile. Additionally, the research project is designed to engage community members in part of the research process, and communicate about microplastics and project results. So far, plastics have been found in the waters and on the bottom of the lake in the sediment of all four study lakes. In the fall of 2020, researchers will begin dissecting two types of fish to see if there are any plastics in their guts: 1) filter feeders (cisco) and 2) visual feeders (bluegill and perch). Fish will be collected by the research team and also by community members who are interested in collaborating on the project. Anglers can submit fish stomachs throughout the year for research staff to dissect and analyze for any microplastic consumption.
More details, including how to join our citizen scientist team, can be found on our project website: www.mnplastics.org
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The AIS Detectors program at the University of Minnesota is jointly supported by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and University of Minnesota Extension. We create volunteer, citizen science, and educational opportunities focusing on aquatic invasive species issues. Our webinar series launched in May 2019 and features webinars on a variety of aquatic invasive species topics. The webinars are always free to attend and closed captioned recordings can be found out our YouTube channel. You can subscribe to our channel here