The PLASTOX project will investigate the ingestion, foodweb transfer, and ecotoxicological impact of microplastics, together with persistent organic pollutants (POPs), metals and plastic additive chemicals associated with them, on key European marine species and ecosystems.
The project will combine field-based observations, laboratory tests, mesocosm and manipulative field experiments to study the ecological effects of microplastics.
Large plastic items which enter the marine environment are slowly degraded (broken down) into micrometre-sized particles by a combination of sunlight and physical action. These particles can adsorb on to their surface any organic pollutants or metal pollutants already present in the marine environment. The particles, and the adsorbed pollutants, can then be ingested/eaten directly by marine organisms or transferred from one organism to another through predation, which moves the particles up the food chain from simple organisms to large, more complex organisms (ref. figure).
Environmental Technology Department, Trondheim