Tying up loose ends of microplastic pollution in the Arctic: Distribution from the sea surface, through the water column to deep-sea sediments at the HAUSGARTEN observatory


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mine.banu.tekman [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that despite its remoteness, the Arctic region harbors some of the highest microplastic (MP) concentrations worldwide. Here, we present the results of a sampling campaign to assess the vertical distribution of MP particles (>11 µm) at five stations of the HAUSGARTEN observatory. Water column samples were taken with large volume pumps by filtering 218 – 561 liters of seawater at two to four depth strata (near-surface, ~300 m, ~1000 m and above seafloor) and sediment samples with a multiple corer. MP concentrations in the water column ranged between 0 – 1,287 N m-3 and in the sediment from 239 – 13,331 N kg-1. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) imaging with automated data analysis showed that polyamide (39%) and ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (23%) were the most abundant polymers within the water samples and polyethylene-chlorinated (31%) in sediments. MPs ≤25 µm accounted for more than half of the synthetic particles in every sample. The largest MP particle recorded was in the 200 µm size class. The concentrations of fibers were not reported, as fiber detection by FTIR imaging was not available at the time of analyses. Two- and three-dimensional simulations of particle transport trajectories suggest different pathways for certain polymer types. A positive correlation between MP size composition and particulate organic carbon indicates interactions with biological processes in the water column.



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Article
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Research Networks
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Eprint ID
51446
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.9b06981

Cite as
Tekman, M. B. , Wekerle, C. , Lorenz, C. , Primpke, S. , Hasemann, C. , Gerdts, G. and Bergmann, M. (2020): Tying up loose ends of microplastic pollution in the Arctic: Distribution from the sea surface, through the water column to deep-sea sediments at the HAUSGARTEN observatory , Environmental Science & Technology . doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b06981


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