High Frequency Sampling

High Frequency Sampling:

Minimal testing has been done within coastal estuarine systems, so the purpose of this study is to quantify microplastics in these areas for a better understanding of their treat to the ecosystem. The goal of this study was to observe the variation of microplastic concentrations at a single location, and surface bucket samples were collected from a pier near the Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory at Eckerd College at bi-hourly intervals during the daylight hours. These samples were collected for two consecutive days in each of three consecutive weeks in January 2019, June 2019, and January 2020. For each collection period, water depth and wind speed were recorded. The samples were then filtered through stacked sieves, rinsed into a beaker, and resettled with Milli-Q water.

After 48 hours, the samples were poured into a new beaker and the material that had settled at the bottom was discarded. The remaining supernatant was dyed with Nile Red and then transferred to black polycarbonate filters. Image analysis was used to quantify the particles, and the results showed how microplastic concentrations can vary based on tidal cycle and environmental conditions.