Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) team is
launching a multi-year microplastics initiative to understand how plastics are
affecting our freshwater ecosystems.
only recently discovered that microplastics are found in almost all areas of
the environment and are being ingested by most organisms, including humans”
Large River Ecologist Jason Knouft said. “Unfortunately, we don't really know
if and how these particles are affecting our health. This is likely an issue
that impacts us all and requires significant attention.”
are defined as plastic pieces less than five millimeters or 0.2 inches in
diameter. They have been detected in marine organisms as small as plankton,
commercial seafood and our drinking water. As of March 2022, leading health
researchers have also detected microplastics in human blood.
are becoming increasingly prevalent in the environment and are of concern for
human health. Yet, in freshwater systems there is an inadequate understanding
of the environmental impacts from this contaminant.
“It's rare that
a research team has sampled microplastics in all parts of a local environment.
Most times, scientists will focus on one aspect of the environment, river water
for example. This limits the ability to understand how microplastics move
through the system” said Knouft.
will focus research efforts within the Piasa Creek Watershed, located in
Madison County Illinois. Currently in Phase 1, the research staff are working
to obtain all necessary equipment and aim to start collecting data beginning in
Phase 1 of this
initiative will focus on collecting data from water, soil and air in different
habitats including wetlands, farmland, forests and urban areas. This data will
give NGRREC scientists a clearer understanding of the distribution of
microplastics in the Piasa Creek watershed to better guide the future work
being done. This first phase is crucial for determining the next steps of this
information contact Jason Knouft at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC )
in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to
the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center
aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related
to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and
their associated communities. To learn more about NGRREC, visit www.ngrrec.org.