MICRO PLASTIC ARTIC
Marine litter entering the oceans has been estimated to be 4.8-12.7 millions tons per year. Microplastics derive from persistent break down of plastic objects, due to environmental factors such as sun exposition and waves power. Plastic microfragments are accumulating on the sea surface, especially within the neustonic habitat, and several publications report increasing concentrations in oceans and seas. The distribution and abundance of plastic debris are strongly influenced by hydrodynamics and show high spatial variability in both the open ocean and shoreline waters. Oceanic currents lead to high dispersion patterns, which in turn permit plastic materials to reach remote areas, like islands or polar regions, distant from sources of pollution. The ingestion of microplastic is one of the main negative effects on biota, including birds, plancton and fishes, considering that toxic substances are adsorbed and accumulated on tissues of their eventual predators. The estimation of microplastic items is performed using a Manta Trawl lined with a 333μm mesh net which samples the top 25cm from the sea surface. The sampling design leads to perform 3 replicates for each of the 15 sites. Twenty minutes linear transects, are georeferenced from start to end point and performed at 2 knots of speed to allow a perfect balance of the Manta Trawl during sampling. Transects will be carried out considering the distance from coast and ice blocks and sea currents through oceanographic forecasts and modelling.