Presentation at MicroMed2019 - Capri, Italy

Lola Paradinas

Scottish Association for Marine Science


In September 2019, I attended MicroMed2019 International conference, in Capri (Italy), an experience made possible thanks to the Challenger Society travel award. This conference is one of the key event on microplastic pollution, aiming to gather experts from scientific and industrial background. This conference focus on understanding, sharing research on the occurrence and effect of microplastics in the marine environment, and more specifically the Mediterranean Sea.

My talk was entitled “Seasonal importance on microplastics composition and concentrations in coastal waters”. It was an honour to share my PhD results on an international level. Meeting with a Spanish scientific team working on a similar topic was the highlight of this conference. After fruitful discussions, we planned potential collaborations in the future. My PhD topic examines the occurrence and composition of microplastics in coastal water, intertidal sediment and biota (Blue mussel, Mytilus edulis). Three variables (water, sand and mussel) are investigated as drivers of the seasonal variation of these microscopic particles. Moreover, the effect of tides and storm on the deposition of microplastics on the shore will be studied. In addition, models will be run to study the dynamic of small plastic particles along the coastline.

The four-day conference was a good mix of disciplines with fascinating talks, gathering knowledge and solutions about the complex problem of plastic pollution. Sessions ranged from physical oceanography, ecosystem monitoring, ecotoxicology, policy and industrial innovations. Many topics were discussed with some clear conclusions about plastics pollution. You can check the range of topics presented on twitter at @Med2019Micro or #µMed shared by the microplastic community.

In addition to a very full scientific programme, keynote speakers were excellent with inspirational and engaged talks on diverse topics. Amazing talks of Dr. Susan D. Shaw, Professor Maria Cristina Fossi and Professor Richard C. Thompson highlighted the state of art of plastic pollution, the next challenges and objectives for the scientific community in the next years. Interacting with politics and industrials is the key to tackle plastic pollution.

Having attended this conference was a fantastic and such motivational opportunity to catch up with microplastic researchers and see the progress made in this field through the years. During my career, I have been fortunate to participate to many conferences and this one was one of the best, with a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Capri is of course an astonishing location that definitely participate to the atmosphere of the conference.

MicroMed2019 provided great opportunity to network, meet inspirational scientists from around the world and learn about the latest methods and solutions developed in microplastic science. I thank the Challenger Society for the support that allow me to participate, and to all the participants for their enthusiasm that gave me even more motivation for the future, the next research.

I am an oceanographer and marine ecologist, interested in pollution and how the marine environment is affected by anthropogenic activities. More specifically, I research the occurrence, composition and dynamic of microplastics on the intertidal environment. An inter-disciplinary approach was put in place to improve our general knowledge regarding microplastic pollution in coastal areas. To do this, I undertook fieldwork around the North and West coast of Scotland using various sampling and extraction methods to recover microplastics from different environmental variables.

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