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An Assessment of the extent of the benthic microplastic pollution in the Eastern Aegean Sea

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An Assessment of the extent of the benthic microplastic pollution in the Eastern Aegean Sea

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Samenvatting

Microplastics, plastic fragments smaller than 5mm in diameter, are a worldwide recognized threat to the marine environment. Starting in 2004 Richard C. Thompson study mentioned for the first time the presence of microplastic pollution, the subject attracted the attention of the scientific community to further study possible threats from this invisible contaminant.
Research on the assessment of benthic microplastic pollution around the Island of Samos has been implemented as a part of efforts to protect the rich marine biota around the Eastern Aegean Sea. This research focused on the identification and quantification of egested microplastic fibers by local Holothuria sp. The intention of this project was to provide an insight into the current level of microplastic abundance and its dispersal in the biota of the Eastern Aegean benthos.
The outcome of this study was the manifold. It was found that all investigated Holothurians, regardless to their sample site, egested microplastic fibers. This provided evidence of the omnipresence of this pollutant in the benthic coastal zone of the studied area.
Investigations on factors believed to affect the quantity of microplastics were made. Vicinity of the sample sites to dissimilar anthropogenic influences revealed no statistically significant differences in the frequency of microplastic fibers. Hence, suggesting homogeneity of microplastic contamination in all areas. In addition, divergence in sample depths showed no significant differences between quantities of MP fibers as well.
For the purpose of identifying possible sources of MP fibers, the coloring prevalence of the sampled fibers was determined. The acquired results displayed insignificant statistical differences between the rate of Colored and Transparent fibers. Based on all findings it was concluded that sources, resulting in both colorings, are believed to have equal impact on the researched areas.
Overall it is concluded that the existence of Colored and Transparent microplastic fibers in the coastal zone of the Island of Samos is demonstrated. Further research on the matter is suggested, targeting a wider study area to enhance the knowledge about dispersion of microplastic fibers in the Eastern Aegean Sea, leading into actions diminishing the sources of input.

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OrganisatieHZ University of Applied Sciences
OpleidingWatermanagement/ Aquatische Ecotechnologie
InstituutDelta Academy
PartnersArchipelagos Institute of Marinve Conservation
Gepubliceerd in
Datum2015-06-26
TypeBachelorscriptie
TaalEngels

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