Faculty Mentor

Dr. Samuel Mutiti

Proposal Type

Poster

Start Date

2-11-2019 10:20 AM

End Date

2-11-2019 11:30 AM

Location

Cleveland Ballroom

Abstract

Analysis of Microplastics on St. Simons Island, Georgia, USA

Abigail Hodges

Mentored by Dr. Samuel Mutiti

Georgia College and State University, Dept. of Environmental and Biological Sciences

September 18, 2019

Plastic particles of many shapes and sizes are currently wreaking havoc on aquatic ecosystems across the globe. Although research behind this field of study is still developing, larger pieces of plastic often degrade into microscopic pieces 5 millimeters or smaller in length. These particles have been termed “microplastics” and are very harmful to aquatic life. Because all plastic is extremely durable and easy to manufacture, microplastics are very prevalent in waterways and oceans. The goal of this study is to analyze the prevalence of microplastics in both sediment and water samples from the coastal area of St. Simons Island, Georgia. This area is a large attraction to tourists where significant human activity occurs, and it is expected that this area will contain a high concentration of microplastics. Water samples were collected in sampling bottles, and sediments were obtained at several sites across the island in January of 2019. Sediments were dried and 100 g of the sample was mixed with 250 milliliters of salt solution and left to settle for 2 hours. Both sediment and soil samples were then vacuum filtered through 55 mm filter paper and assessed under dissecting microscopes, and microplastics were identified using a microscope and based on methods published in literature. Initial findings on the island revealed that water samples contained 2-9 microplastics per liter of water, and soil samples containing 3-20 microplastics per gram of soil. The highest quantity of microplastics was discovered in sediment samples rather than water samples. The most microplastics were found in environments in close proximity to beaches implying that sand might be accumulating the plastics and in the future act as hot spot sources. Research is currently being continued to determine change over time and whether seasonality also impacts the prevalence of microplastics in this area.

Comments

Author name and email: Abigail Hodges, abigail.hodges@bobcats.gcsu.edu

Faculty mentor name and email: Dr. Samuel Mutiti, samuel.mutiti@gcsu.edu

Share

COinS
 
Nov 2nd, 10:20 AM Nov 2nd, 11:30 AM

#12 - Analysis of Microplastics on St. Simons Island, Georgia, USA

Cleveland Ballroom

Analysis of Microplastics on St. Simons Island, Georgia, USA

Abigail Hodges

Mentored by Dr. Samuel Mutiti

Georgia College and State University, Dept. of Environmental and Biological Sciences

September 18, 2019

Plastic particles of many shapes and sizes are currently wreaking havoc on aquatic ecosystems across the globe. Although research behind this field of study is still developing, larger pieces of plastic often degrade into microscopic pieces 5 millimeters or smaller in length. These particles have been termed “microplastics” and are very harmful to aquatic life. Because all plastic is extremely durable and easy to manufacture, microplastics are very prevalent in waterways and oceans. The goal of this study is to analyze the prevalence of microplastics in both sediment and water samples from the coastal area of St. Simons Island, Georgia. This area is a large attraction to tourists where significant human activity occurs, and it is expected that this area will contain a high concentration of microplastics. Water samples were collected in sampling bottles, and sediments were obtained at several sites across the island in January of 2019. Sediments were dried and 100 g of the sample was mixed with 250 milliliters of salt solution and left to settle for 2 hours. Both sediment and soil samples were then vacuum filtered through 55 mm filter paper and assessed under dissecting microscopes, and microplastics were identified using a microscope and based on methods published in literature. Initial findings on the island revealed that water samples contained 2-9 microplastics per liter of water, and soil samples containing 3-20 microplastics per gram of soil. The highest quantity of microplastics was discovered in sediment samples rather than water samples. The most microplastics were found in environments in close proximity to beaches implying that sand might be accumulating the plastics and in the future act as hot spot sources. Research is currently being continued to determine change over time and whether seasonality also impacts the prevalence of microplastics in this area.