Marine Plastic Research Project
Hi, my name is Pauline, and I have been interning at Sea Synergy for a month today! I come from France where I am studying Engineering in biosciences at INSA Lyon. I want my work to be linked to marine biology later, so I wanted to find an internship in this field so chose to come be an intern at Sea Synergy. Sea Synergy also caught my attention because it is heavily involved in education which is another area I like.
I have already learnt a lot of things thanks to the seashore safaris. I think when I first arrived I was learning as much as the school kids since I didn’t have any marine vocabulary in English. On my first day I was involved in helping with the stranding of two dolphins and the dissection of one and we’ve also been whale watching and on boat trips. Not a bad month at all!
Apart from helping at the office, I am leading a research project on the distribution of plastics in the region (Lohar Beach, St Finians Bay and Derrynane). The project is based on the comparison between the amount of microplastics (plastics that are smaller than 5mm) that can be found in mussels and the amount of micro and macro plastic that can be found on the beach. If those can be linked, it means that mussels could be a bioindicator for the amount of plastic pollution in different areas of the world. This could be a great way of assessing the amount of plastic pollution in an area. Relying on just what washes up on the beach can be hard becauseenvironmental factors such as tides, winds, currents and waves affect where the plastic goes and how long it stays on the beach. Mussels on the other hand are filter feeders, meaning that they eat by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, so any plastic they filter out of the water stays inside them and doesn’t get swept away again.
We hope to compare the amount of plastic pollution between the 3 bays thanks to the data we will be gathering.
This is a citizen science project so if any of you would like to take part in my fieldwork and join me on the beaches during June you would be most welcome!
For more information or to get involved call 087 4554034 or email me at [email protected]