By: Leah Henry
In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Oxford Lab, the NOAA Marine Debris Program collected surface water samples from four tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, using the techniques described in the document, “Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment: Recommendations for Monitoring Debris Trends in the Marine Environment,” and found microplastics in 59 of 60 samples.
Though the impacts of these tiny plastic particles (smaller than 5.0 mm in size) on wildlife and the environment is unknown, many ongoing studies are hoping to soon answer those important questions.
University of Maryland Professor Dr. Lance Yonkos was not surprised by what they found in the bay. As the lead author of this study, Yonkos’ take home message is one of prevention, “If we want to reduce microplastics in the oceans we need to limit their release at the source.” Find out more from the Photo Essay: Microplastics in the Chesapeake Bay.
All Photos by Will Parson, courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Program.