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Year: 2019/2020
Project manager: Lisbet Sørensen
Project code: 452 882019

The interdisciplinary Arctic Fibre project will expand the scope of research in the ongoing RCN-funded project MICROFIBRE by studying how UV degradation of microplastic fibres (MPFs) derived from synthetic textiles influences biofilm formation and the broader environmental fate implications of this process. Understanding will be gained by conducting a combination of field and laboratory studies under Arctic conditions. Differences in microbial communities colonizing different types of pristine and UV-degraded MPFs will be determined, including those formed on field deployed (summer and winter, Trondheim and Tromsø) MPFs. The project will aim to link observable differences in microbial community structure to physicochemical parameters including polymer type, additive chemical profile and level of UV degradation. The process of biofilm formation will then be investigated for its subsequent influence on the setting rate of MPFs to Arctic sediments, which has implications for exposure potential for marine organisms dwelling in different habitats (e.g. pelagic vs. benthic). Finally, the project will study how biofilm formation on both pristine and UV-degraded MPFs impacts their ingestion rates/preferential uptake by pelagic (copepods) and benthic (amphipods and brittle stars) marine organisms with different feeding strategies. The Arctic Fibre project will produce valuable and timely knowledge for local and national environmental management and provide input towards international regulation for plastic pollution control.

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