Oceans & Seas

Oceans and seas play a vital role in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they significantly contribute to the Earth's biosphere's health and the global economy. They are critical to sustaining life on earth, acting as a major source of food and oxygen while also serving as natural carbon sinks that mitigate climate change impacts. SDG 14, "Life Below Water," explicitly acknowledges the importance of conservation and the sustainable use of the world's oceans, seas, and marine resources.

Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. However, this process has implications such as ocean acidification, negatively impacting marine biodiversity and ecosystems. These impacts, coupled with unsustainable fishing practices and pollution, threaten the health of our oceans and seas. SDG 14 sets targets to prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems, and regulate harvesting and end overfishing to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels.

Oceans also support economic wellbeing. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. By protecting oceanic ecosystems, the SDGs also support SDG 1, "No Poverty," and SDG 8, "Decent Work and Economic Growth." Furthermore, the oceanic routes are critical for global trade, supporting SDG 9, "Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure."

Furthermore, by implementing strategies for cleaner and more sustainable use of oceans and seas, it can also contribute to SDG 13, "Climate Action." For instance, developing and implementing new technologies to harness energy from waves and tides can promote renewable energy usage and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, aligning with SDG 7, "Affordable and Clean Energy."

Microplastics are emerging pollutants in aquatic and terrestrial environments. In the last years, several case studies and reviews have been published about microplastics in freshwater and marine environments. However, no standardized methods are available for sampling and sample preparation. Based on literature research, this review presents different techniques and methods for sampling as well as the preparation of microplastic samples from water, sediment and biota of freshwater and marine environments.
Microplastics (MP) provide a unique and extensive surface for microbial colonization in aquatic ecosystems. The formation of microorganism-microplastic complexes, such as biofilms, maximizes the degradation of organic matter and horizontal gene transfer. In this context, MP affect the structure and function of microbial communities, which in turn render the physical and chemical fate of MP. This new paradigm generates challenges for microbiology, ecology, and ecotoxicology.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 112, March 2019
Plastics are an integral but largely inconspicuous part of human daily routines. Associated with a high production and single use nature of several products, small plastic particles became ubiquitous. Due to processes like water currents and winds, plastics may occur far from their place of origin and affect biota at different environmental compartments. In the environment plastics can degrade into increasingly smaller particles, reaching a nanometer size which increases their potential to be incorporated by organisms.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 112, March 2019
Nanoplastic is an emerging topic of relevance in environmental science. The analytical methods for microplastic have a particle size limit of a few micrometers so that new methods have to be developed to cover the nanometer range. This contribution reviews the progress in environmental nanoplastic analysis and critically evaluates which techniques from nanomaterial analysis may potentially be adapted to close the methodological gap. A roadmap is brought forward for the whole analytical process from sample treatment to particle characterization.
The presence of plastic debris in the ocean is increasing and several effects in the marine environment have been reported. A great number of studies have demonstrated that microplastics (MPs) adsorb organic compounds concentrating them several orders of magnitude than the levels found in their surrounding environment, therefore they could be potential vectors of these contaminants to biota. However, a consensus on MPs as vectors of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has not been reached since are opposing views among different researchers on this topic.
Interest about interactions between microplastics and organisms is on the rise. Accessing organisms’ responses to these chemically “inert” compounds plays an important role in determining their potential toxicity. Microplastics from the environment tend to accumulate and move through living organisms, inducing a variety of biological effects, such as disturbances in energy metabolism, oxidative balance, antioxidative capacity, DNA, immunological, neurological and histological damage.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 111, February 2019
The quantification of micro- and nanoplastics in environmental matrices is an analytical challenge and pushes to the use of unrealistic high exposure concentrations in laboratory studies which can lead to manifestations of ecotoxicological effects and risks estimation that are transient under natural conditions.

Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, Volume 6, 1 January 2019

This book chapter advances SDGs 11 and 12 by discussing the integrated coastal management approach to coastal zone management policy for a sustainable coast.
In the last decades, energy scarcity has become an important issue globally. Renewable energy sources have gained importance due to limited fossil fuel reserves and increased concerns on climate change. In this regard, municipal wastewater is a remarkable energy source since huge amounts of wastewater are generated and treated all over the world every day. Conventional activated sludge (CAS) process, which has been in use for more than a century, is the most widely applied treatment method for municipal wastewater.