Oceans & Seas

Conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in natural environments requires careful management choices. However, common methods of evaluating the impact of conservation interventions can have contextual shortcomings. Here, we make a call for counterfactual thinking—asking the question “what would have happened in the absence of an intervention?”—with the support of rigorous evaluation approaches and more thoughtful consideration of human dimensions and behavior.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 116, July 2019
For seventy years, mass plastic production and waste mismanagement have resulted in huge pollution of the environment, including the marine environment. The first mention of seafood contaminated by microplastics was recorded in the seventies, and to date numerous studies have been carried out on shellfish, fish and crustaceans. Based on an ad hoc corpus, the current review aims to report on the numerous practices and methodologies described so far.

This collection of articles focusses on SDG 14 (life below water). Every coastal State, including several members of G20, face threats to marine ecosystems and the environment as complex societal, economic and governance challenges. Ocean management involves multi-disciplinary science and complex issues of policy design, while implementation demands consultative decision making and long term capacity development.

This report explores the role of business in securing a healthy, productive and well-governed ocean, contributing to SDGs 12, 13 and 14. Private sector innovation and investment, together with strong public and private governance frameworks, could exponentially increase the amount of sustainable resources delivered from the ocean, including healthy food, secure and affordable clean energy, and more efficient and lower-carbon transport.
PET is a ubiquitous material because of its robust properties. Today, less than 30% of PET bottles and few carpets are recycled in the United States, leading to the majority of PET being landfilled. The low PET reclamation rate is due to the fact that PET bottle recycling today is mechanical, resulting in a devalued product. Here, reclaimed PET (rPET) bottles are converted to fiberglass-reinforced plastics (FRPs), which sell for more than twice that of rPET. When monomers derivable from biomass are incorporated, rPET-FRPs with superior properties are achieved.
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.

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