The ratio of plastic to plankton in the Mediterranean Sea

Fugagnoli, Alice (2018) The ratio of plastic to plankton in the Mediterranean Sea. [Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Biologia marina [LM-DM270] - Ravenna
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Abstract

Plastic pollution is a huge problem that is affecting all the oceans of the Earth. Plastic items end into the sea, break into tiny pieces and pollute the marine environment. The aim of this research is to increase our knowledge on this problem by comparing microplastic and zooplankton distributions. Samples from the Mediterranean Sea and Gibraltar Strait have been collected and analyzed. Plastic fragments have been extracted, weighted, photographed, measured and analyzed with a hyperspectral camera. The planktonic part of the samples has been analyzed identifying the main typology of organisms, taking pictures of the samples and analyzing them with ImageJ to take the measures. Data analysis was focused to the plastic to zooplankton ratio. The results have highlighted that most of the plastic to plankton ratios occurred in the in 1mm-10mm size range, and half of the stations in the Mediterranean sea presented values higher than 1, meaning than there is more plastic than plankton in that size range, for 50% of the Mediterranean. The ratio was higher during the day, due to the ascent of zooplankton during night. The results clearly show that the rank of greater danger is between 1mm to 10mm, and for this reason future samplings should focus on a net for this specific size range, to make sampling more simple and effective. A pollution indicator was created, based on the data collected all around the Mediterranean Sea, which could help find out future danger classifications, and choose the best adoptable strategies to solve the problem. Furthermore, the fact that the higher ratio has been found during the day can help future plastic sampling to focus on this time lapse. Concluding, the data provided by this research will be useful to better understand the degree of plastic contamination of our oceans and give updates to develop quality guidelines according to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Abstract
Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea magistrale)
Autore della tesi
Fugagnoli, Alice
Relatore della tesi
Correlatore della tesi
Scuola
Corso di studio
Ordinamento Cds
DM270
Parole chiave
plastic, microplastic, pollution, zooplankton, mediterranean
Data di discussione della Tesi
13 Dicembre 2018
URI

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