Saturday, June 22, 2024

Many Ocean Microplastics Go Undetected


Research by scientists at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University has shown that many microplastics in the world’s oceans have, in all likelihood, gone undetected.

According to the latest paper that was published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, scientists used a method called Raman microspectroscopy on samples from three global locations and showed that traditional methods may miss the smallest of microplastics.

Commenting on the findings, lead author Medina Faull, a lecturer at SoMAS stated:

“Our results highlight the numerical primacy of small MP particles in seawater, and we found that the most abundant MPs were between 1 and 14 micrometers, 60 percent were under 5 micrometers, and none were larger than 53 micrometers. This size fraction has been totally overlooked in almost all marine MP surveys.”

Medina added:

“Firstly, most of the ocean is grossly under-sampled, and the majority of existing data is based on towed net studies. And smaller less buoyant MP particles residing below the ocean’s upper few meters are almost never sampled. Secondly, understanding sources of MPs transport and final landing locations such as ocean floors is crucial to explain the distribution patterns of MPs throughout the ocean.”

You can find the original research here.

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for