Expertise of Project Partners

GEOMAR: GEOMAR (Lenz) coordinates the international research and student training programme GAME that has focused on the biological effects of MP on benthic deposit and filter feeders in global coastal waters for several years (Brennecke et al., 2015, Rist et al., 2016).
GEOMAR (Achterberg) has experience using in-situ pumps for U-Th analysis and particle flux determination. The Achterberg group also developed analytical methods for the reconcentration and analysis of plastic leachate compounds in seawater using uHPLC-ESIMS (Loghmani, 2018) and GC-MS. GEOMAR (Haeckel) has developed a validated MP extraction, quantification and identification (Raman micro-spectroscopy) procedure that was further improved in the JPIO project BASEMAN. The method has been validated for size classes in the range 32-1000 µm (Reimann, 2017) and used over the past 3 years to analyze sediment samples from different coastal environments. In addition, the Haeckel group has investigated the colonization and degradation of plastic debris by microbes in the ocean including deep-sea sediments (Nauendorf et al., 2016; Krause et al., submitted).

IWC-TUM: The Institute of Water Chemistry & Chemical Balneology (IWC), Chair of Analytical Chemistry and Water Chemistry (Prof. Dr. Martin Elsner, Dr. Natalia P. Ivleva), Technical University of Munich (TUM) has longstanding expertise in the fields of analytical chemistry and
environmental chemistry. For almost ten years IWC-TUM has been dedicated to the study of MP particles in complex environmental samples using Raman microspectroscopy. We developed the “Munich Plastic Sediment Separator, MPSS” (in cooperation with Prof. Christian
Laforsch). Currently the institute is focused on the optimization of Raman analysis of MP from sediment samples and on the applicability of Raman microspectroscopy for off-line and on-line detection of sub-MP particles (projects “MiWa” and “SubµTrack”, respectively; funded by
the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF). Furthermore, we focus us on the identification and quantification of MP particles in food samples (project “MiPAq”; funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation, BFS).

SDU: The Javidpour lab develops innovative methods and tools to capture MP from the marine environment. SDU coordinates the panEuropean H2020 GoJelly project to develop a bio-based solution to microplastic pollution, taking advantage of jellyfish adhesive properties to
capture small-sized microplastic particles in waste water treatment systems. We invented the patented Flow2Vortex device, a cage system with an axial water current originally designed to rear fragile plankton organisms such as jellyfish, but found to also efficiently trap and
concentrate microplastic particles.

IPMA: IPMA coordinates at a national level the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive focusing on the Marine Litter descriptor. The research is focused on mapping and monitoring MP in all compartments from marine and transitional waters, based on developed methodologies for sampling, extract and analyzing microplastics taken within the JPIO-BASEMAN. IPMA participate and leads research projects related to monitoring and characterization of marine litter, including microplastics, and management of data and
information. Furthermore, additional research has been done in the assessment of microplastics mediated chemicals transfer and effects in food webs of deep, coastal and estuarine ecosystems

MARE: Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre is a centre for research, technological development and innovation, with seven poles located in Portugal mainland and islands. MARE was classified as Excellent R & D Unit by FCT. Its objective is to seek excellence in the study
of aquatic ecosystems and disseminate knowledge to support policies for sustainable development. The Madeira pole of MARE (MAREMadeira) is hosted by ARDITI, the Regional Agency for Research, Technological Development and Innovation. MARE-Madeira currently
participates in several research projects (e.g. Horizon 2020; Atlantic Area Transnational Programme 2014-2020; INTERREG MAC) focusing on marine litter (including MP) characterization and mapping in the Madeira archipelago.

UPisa: The most recent research on MP at UPisa is focused on developing new analytical methodologies targeting the total mass content of micro- and nanoplastics in marine and freshwater sediments, the identification of polymer type and its weathered condition. For this
purpose, UPisa uses a combination of processing (selective solvent extraction, hydrolytic depolymerization) and analytical techniques (gravimetry, FTIR and NMR spectroscopies, Pyr-GC/MS, multidetector GPC and HPLC) are adopted for efficient polymer fractionation and
characterization, including obtaining information on the extent of polymer degradation (Ceccarini et al. 2018; Biver et al., 2018). A full range of state of the art equipment is available through the Interdepartmental Center for Scientific Equipment of the University of Pisa.

UGent: The Marine Biology research group has a long standing tradition in performing benthic research from shallow waters to the deep sea combining field observation with in situ and lab experiments. Through analysis of sediments and biota along the targeted gradient UGent will identify the present plastic particles along the targeted gradient and link this to water column processes and patterns. UGent will further investigate through an experimental approach which benthic biota are important in ingestion and burial of particles to deeper
sediment layers using different particles sizes and composition. The importance of biofoulers for the ingestion rate will be assessed as an additional treatment in the experiments.

UTartu: Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu (UTartu) is a leading multidisciplinary marine research institution in Estonia JPI Oceans HOTMIC - ID: 87 16 of 44 conducting both basic and applied research projects. Team members of UTartu have broad expertise in marine science (pattern, process studies, dynamics and modelling) and strong knowledge in different types of habitats (benthic and pelagic) and organisms (phytoplankton, zooplankton, phytobenthos, zoobenthos and fish). Recent publications of the research team demonstrate the competency of the group to investigate in a very interdisciplinary approach the effects of multiple pressures (including effects of plastics) on marine biodiversity, functioning and ecosystem services.