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Interdisciplinary Seminar: Mollie Yacano
April 23 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
An Interdisciplinary seminar from UNC Marine Sciences graduate student, Mollie Yacano. Presented by the UNC-CH Department of Marine Sciences and UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS). The main location of this event will be in seminar room G201 on the ground floor of Murray Hall on UNC-CH campus in Chapel Hill, NC. The seminar will be streamed live to room 222 at IMS in Morehead City, NC. This event will be held on Monday, April 23rd at 12:20pm.
Seminar Title: Marine Microplastics: Physical Transport and Impacts on Biological and Biogeochemical Processes
Abstract: Since production of plastics began in the 1950s, plastic manufacturing has exploded into one of the world’s largest industries, and many of these plastics eventually make their way into our marine systems. The issue of plastic debris in the oceans is well documented, as it composes ~85% of all marine litter. Though we are often familiar with seeing images of large plastic debris floating in the ocean, the effects of the plastic we cannot see may be far more alarming. These tiny particles (<5 mm) called microplastics can originate from the degradation of large plastic debris, breakdown of synthetic materials, or as microbeads found in many personal care products. The presence of microplastics has been observed throughout the world’s oceans, both within the water column and marine sediments. Though the currents have traditionally been thought of as the primary transport mechanism of microplastics, more recent work has indicated that an array of oceanic processes ultimately dictate their fate and distribution. Beyond physical distribution, the presence of microplastics has been observed within organisms from every trophic level; however, the impact on marine life is varied. The substantial presence of microplastics in marine sediments has resulted in a relatively new direction in microplastics research, focusing on whether it may influence biogeochemical cycles. Management and mitigation of marine microplastics is necessary; however, there is debate on the best methods to do so.