Dr Angela Capper at the CMERC Seagrass nursery. She will be conducting a four year study into microplastics on the Gladstone coastline.
Dr Angela Capper at the CMERC Seagrass nursery. She will be conducting a four year study into microplastics on the Gladstone coastline.

Gladstone’s puzzle piece in massive microplastics study

A CQUniversity researcher will conduct a four-year study into the impact of microplastics in Gladstone Harbour.

The study by Dr Angela Capper follows on from research in Orkney, Scotland, which found 94 per cent of sediment, seagrass and seagrass grazers sampled contained microplastics.

“One of the interesting things we found … was that the microplastics were sticking to the blades of the seagrass,” Dr Capper said.

She said the interest in coming to Gladstone included the facilities at the Coastal Marine Ecosystem Research Centre with previous research on the seagrass and plastics.

She hopes to find out where the microplastics ended up and what impact they had on the environment.

“The seagrass here is really prolific all along the coast and I would expect to see something similar (to Orkney),” she said.

Dr Capper has a longstanding interest in marine science, particularly looking at contaminants.

She said the Gladstone study would form a piece in a worldwide, microplastic jigsaw.

“I want to try and help provide information that might (inform us) where we can say ‘maybe we should stop using this’ or provide information that makes manufacturers think differently,” she said.

Dr Capper doesn’t see herself as an environmentalist, but there is one thing that motivates her.

“This is our world and we need to try to do the best we can so that when my daughter grows up and grows older it’s a world she wants to live in,” she said.

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