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GALACTIC: GlobAl LAke miCroplasTICs

Microplastics are amongst the contaminants of emerging concern for aquatic systems. Although marine microplastic research remains at the forefront, in recent years researchers, recognising the comparative lack of studies on microplastics in freshwater environments, have begun to address this field as a matter of priority. Indeed, rivers and effluents have been identified as major pathways for microplastics of terrestrial sources (Horton et al., 2017). However, studies about microplastics in freshwaters are still scarce, highly fragmented, and little quantitative data are available (Lambert & Wagner, 2018). Up to now, harmonised and standardised protocols for the sampling and analysis of microplastics in aquatic samples do not exist (Horton et al., 2017). Our objective is to sample different lakes worldwide to identify the occurrence of microplastics in surface water of different freshwater systems. In this way, we will perform a standardised sampling session to obtain comparable and reliable data about the microplastic occurrence in different systems. We will then test the relationship between the abundance of microplastics and the different watershed and lake features (land-use, population, catchment area...).Ideally, we request each team sampling surface water of one lake, using a neuston/plankton net (4 transects). The team will send the sample to the University of Milano-Bicocca, where the sample will be processed.Indeed, at the University of Milano-Bicocca, the samples will be treated to remove organic materials, will be visually inspected and information about dimension, color and shape will be collected. Finally, FT-IR spectroscopy will be employed to identify the different polymer types. This will lead to a collective paper about microplastics, helping advancing research about this topic in freshwater systems. Beside sample collection, all co-authors will be asked to help in one or more of the following task: taking part in possible virtual meetings, helping with the bibliographic research, editing part of the manuscripts, reading and explicitly approving the final version.

Timeline: 
2019-12-01 to 2021-10-01
Project Working Group: 

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