Factors Influencing Concentrations of Micro-Plastics on Florida Beaches
To ocean ecosystems, micro-plastics and other pollutants have become significant contributors to the degradation of the overall life and biodiversity within ecosystems. Micro-plastics are large pieces of plastics which have deteriorated to a small size of 5 mm or less due to natural occurrences such as weathering from currents and sand that breakdown the plastics pieces. Once this size, notable effects within fish populations and ecosystems occur and negative outcomes ensue such as plastics ingested by fish and possible biodiversity loss. Furthermore, these micro-plastics and other miscellaneous articles of trash are carried by currents and have found their way into a large mass of trash, otherwise known as the Atlantic Garbage Patch, off of the east coast of Florida.
Questions stemming from this observation include: does this mass of plastic and trash significantly influence the quantifiable concentrations of micro-plastics found on Florida’s beaches? Would human interaction on land accrue more micro-plastics on the beaches than the one large mass of trash and plastics out floating in the Atlantic would? The goal of this project is to determine if plastic concentrations in sand on the east coast of Florida were significantly higher than the west coast as a result of the Atlantic plastic patch. Within this experiment, sand samples will be collected from several locations on both coasts of Florida. The samples will be sifted, plastics categorized, and statistically analyzed to aid in determining whether our hypothesis that the plastics are primarily washing up from the Atlantic Garbage Patch is supported or rejected.
Lynn University Arts and Sciences Student Symposium
Boca Raton, FL
College of Arts and Sciences
Harris, E., McKeever, S., & Lecher, A. L. (2019, March 26). Factors influencing concentrations of micro-plastics on Florida beaches [Poster presentation]. College of Arts and Sciences Student Symposium, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, United States.
Poster presented at the College of Arts and Sciences Student Symposium, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL.