Gulf of Mexico
Water samples are collected in a plankton tow field.

Tampa Bay awash in microplastic particles

They’re barely visible, only 1/8-inch or smaller, so it might not seem like a big deal. But it is. Microplastic particles are floating around in Tampa Bay in alarming numbers. In fact, research scientists from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and Eckerd College estimate that there may be as many as 4 billion of these indestructible particles at the bottom of the Bay.

“When we look out at Tampa Bay, we can’t imagine it, but microplastic particles are ubiquitous,” says David Hastings, a recently retired professor of marine science and chemistry at Eckerd College and courtesy professor at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science.

Hastings was the principal investigator of a study on microplastics with Kinsley McEachern, the first author of the study. McEachern conducted the study as part of her master’s degree thesis in Environmental Science and Policy at USF St. Petersburg.  

Results from the study were published online in late August in the Marine Pollution Bulletin and will appear in the print version in November.

Read the full story here.