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Microplastics in Coastal Marine Animals: Defining the problem

Principal Investigators

Jordan Pitt, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Mark Hahn, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Neel Aluru, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


The PIs will address the need for fundamental knowledge about the potential threat posed by microplastics and nanoplastics to commercially and ecologically important groups of shellfish and finfish around Cape Cod. Very little is known about microplastic concentrations accumulated by organisms and nothing is known about concentrations of nanoplastics in seafood. To address this gap, the researchers will use state-of-the-art equipment to determine if micro- and nanoplastics (1000x smaller than a microparticle) are found in the tissues of quahogs, oysters, blue mussels, soft-shell clams, mummichogs (Atlantic killifish), and black sea bass. In addition, they will determine the fate of different sized particles after consumption – specifically whether consumed particles can travel from the animal’s gut into other tissues.



Project Information

Started: February 2020
Funded under: NOAA Sea Grant biennial call for proposals

Relevant Links

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Hahn Lab at WHOI 

Aluru Lab at WHOI