MICRO-FATE
Characterizing the fate and effects of microplastic particles between hotspots and remote regions in the Pacific Ocean

Expedition stamp SO268/3
Stamp of expedition SO268/3 on the German research vessel SONNE
Sampling plastic waste from the North Pacific Ocean
Catching a big blue barrel floating on the ocean surface in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from the German research vessel SONNE during expedition SO268/3 crossing the North Pacific Ocean from Vancouver to Singapore in summer, 2019. ©Roman Kroke UFZ

Related publications

[1] H.P.H. Arp, D. Kühnel, C. Rummel, M. MacLeod, A. Potthoff, S. Reichelt, E. Rojo-Nieto, M. Schmitt-Jansen, J. Sonnenberg, E. Toorman, A. Jahnke: Weathering Plastics as a Planetary Boundary Threat: Exposure, Fate, and Hazards. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2021, 55, 7246. doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c01512

[2] M. MacLeod, H.P.H. Arp, M.B. Tekman, A. Jahnke: The global threat from plastic pollution. Science 2021, 373, 61. doi.org/10.1126/science.abg5433

[3] C.D. Rummel, O.J. Lechtenfeld, R. Callies, A. Benke, P. Herzsprung, R. Rynek, S. Wagner, A. Potthoff, A. Jahnke, M. Schmitt-Jansen: Conditioning Film and Early Biofilm Succession on Plastic Surfaces. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2021, 55, 11006. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c07875

[4] C.D. Rummel, H. Schäfer, A. Jahnke, H.P.H. Arp, M. Schmitt-Jansen: Effects of Leachates from UV-Weathered Microplastic on the Microalgae Scenedesmus vacuolatus. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2022, 414, 1469. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-021-03798-3

Travel blog
https://blogs.helmholtz.de/on-tour/category/micro-fate

mdr Wissen Podcast Meine Challenge
(in German, March 11, 2022)

Graphical Abstract of MICRO-FATE
Graphical Abstract of MICRO-FATE showing the location of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the cruise track of the German RV SONNE

The BMBF-funded project MICRO-FATE used research expedition SO268/3 of the German research vessel SONNE crossing the North Pacific Ocean to characterize the fate and effects of field-aged plastic particles. Specifically, we address the identification and characterization of plastic particles at the sea surface, in the water column and in the seabed, their weathering and fragmentation, sorption and leaching of chemicals to/from plastic material, as well as biofilm growth on the particle surface and their incorporation into aggregates which could increase their removal from the sea surface. Our goal is to provide a major contribution to the current understanding of the transport and fate of plastic pollution at hotspots (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) and in background regions of the marine environment.

Overgrown buoy collected from the North Pacific Ocean during expedition SO268/3
Scientists inspecting a weathered buoy floating on the ocean surface from the German research vessel SONNE during expedition SO268/3 crossing the North Pacific Ocean from Vancouver to Singapore in summer, 2019. ©Roman Kroke UFZ

Project coordinator: Annika Jahnke (annika.jahnke[at]ufz.de)

Participating UFZ Departments: OEC, ANA, BIOTOX, SEEFO

Project partners

Fraunhofer IKTS (annegret.potthoff[at]ikts.fraunhofer.de)
Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde IOW (sonja.oberbeckmann[at]io-warnemuende.de)

Invertebrate by-catch of the catamaran net sampling
Nudibranch by-catch of the catamaran net sampling device for surface-floating plastic particles larger than 300 μm, sampled from the German research vessel SONNE during expedition SO268/3 crossing the North Pacific Ocean from Vancouver to Singapore in summer, 2019. ©Gritta Veit-Köhler Senckenberg
Funded by the German BMBF