Microplastics research projects get underway | JPI OCEANS

Microplastics research projects get underway


Microplastics research projects get underway

The JPI Oceans microplastics projects agree on greater cooperation and coordination across the four projects at their joint kick-off meeting at the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness in Madrid.

On 17 February, the four transnational research projects on microplastics in the marine environment funded under the framework of JPI Oceans – BASEMAN, EPHEMARE, PLASTOX and WEATHER-MIC – held their joint kick-off meeting at the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) in Madrid.  Following a welcome address from the Joaquin Serrano, Deputy Director of International Project Department, approximately 50 representatives from academia, national governments as well as stakeholders discussed how best to coordinate and cooperate between the four projects as well as how to feed the scientific results of the projects into European and international political processes.
Showing great willingness to exchange, work together and jointly tackle common challenges, the project partners pledged to cooperate particularly with respect to the harmonisation and standardisation of methods. Developing and agreeing on standardised protocols for identifying and analysing plastic particles in the marine environment will be essential, in order to generate comparative and verifiable data, which in turn will allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the extent of microplastics in the ocean and their effect on marine organisms, ecosystems, and the human food chain. In addition, project partners discussed the need for joint engagement with stakeholders and agreed to work together when communicating their results to stakeholders and feeding input to policy processes, such as the deliberations on marine litter under the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Overall, the project partners decided to set up a number of working groups across projects in order coordinate and align their activities in the following fields:
  • Communication – chaired by Andy Booth (PLASTOX project, SINTEF, Norway)
  • Trophic Transfer - chaired by Annika Batel (EPHEMARE Project, University of Heidelberg, Germany)
  • Field Sampling - chaired by Jesús Gago (BASEMAN project, IEO, Spain)
  • Weathering & Polymers - chaired by Hans Peter Arp (WEATHER-MIC Project, NGI, Norway)
  • Ecotoxicology - chaired by Xavier Cousin (EPHEMARE project, Ifremer, France)

The projects are the result of a joint call focusing on microplastics in the marine environment launched by  ten member countries of JPI Oceans under the Pilot Action “Ecological Aspects of Microplastics” (BE, DE, ES, FR, IE, IT, NL, NO, PT, NO), . Based on the evaluation by an expert panel, the member countries selected four proposals for funding from December 2015 / January 2016 for a three year period: 
  • BASEMAN (PDF) - Defining the baselines and standards for microplastics analyses in European waters
  • EPHEMARE (PDF)  - Ecotoxicological effects of microplastics in marine ecosystems
  • PLASTOX - Direct and indirect ecotoxicological impacts of microplastics on marine organisms
  • WEATHER-MIC - How microplastic weathering changes its transport, fate and toxicity in the marine environment
For more information on this pilot action and the funded projects can be found here.

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