Event Title

Quantification of Microplastics in the Catawba and Pee Dee River Basins

Poster Number

031

Faculty Mentor

Cynthia Tant, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Biology

Location

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Start Date

12-4-2019 2:15 PM

End Date

April 2019

Description

Plastic pollution has become a worldwide ecological and economic issue. Plastic was originally a chemical-based alternative to using finite ecological goods such as wood and ivory. An overproduction of plastic, improper disposal, and faulty recycling practices have caused plastic to be prevalent in the environment at large. Plastic, and more recently, microplastic (plastic pieces smaller than 5 mm) pollution in the marine environment has become a major area of concern due to the occurrence of plastic in the guts of many aquatic species. Most research has been focused on marine microplastics; however, there has been very little research on inland freshwaters. In this study, we focused on the Catawba and Pee Dee Rivers and their tributaries to quantify and sort microplastics in surface water, sediment, and invasive freshwater bivalves, Corbicula fluminea. The samples were processed and quantified using the NightSea© fluorescent microscope adaptor. We found that tributaries had significant differences in the quantity of microplastics, and storm flows increased the quantity of microplastics in surface water samples. These data fill previous knowledge gaps in freshwater microplastic research in two of South Carolina’s major river basins.

Previously Presented/Performed?

South Carolina Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Florence, South Carolina, March 2019

Grant Support?

Supported by an SC INBRE grant from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIH-NIGMS)

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Apr 12th, 2:15 PM Apr 12th, 4:15 PM

Quantification of Microplastics in the Catawba and Pee Dee River Basins

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Plastic pollution has become a worldwide ecological and economic issue. Plastic was originally a chemical-based alternative to using finite ecological goods such as wood and ivory. An overproduction of plastic, improper disposal, and faulty recycling practices have caused plastic to be prevalent in the environment at large. Plastic, and more recently, microplastic (plastic pieces smaller than 5 mm) pollution in the marine environment has become a major area of concern due to the occurrence of plastic in the guts of many aquatic species. Most research has been focused on marine microplastics; however, there has been very little research on inland freshwaters. In this study, we focused on the Catawba and Pee Dee Rivers and their tributaries to quantify and sort microplastics in surface water, sediment, and invasive freshwater bivalves, Corbicula fluminea. The samples were processed and quantified using the NightSea© fluorescent microscope adaptor. We found that tributaries had significant differences in the quantity of microplastics, and storm flows increased the quantity of microplastics in surface water samples. These data fill previous knowledge gaps in freshwater microplastic research in two of South Carolina’s major river basins.