Microplastic research attracts increasing attention and funding globally. It is crucially important to have clear and applicable guidelines that enable data comparability. Those guidelines need to consider sampling techniques, quantitative assessments, chemical identification of particles as well as laboratory quality assurance and quality control.
The project aims at providing participants with experience of all stages of microplastic research from data collection to chemical identification of sampled particles. Starting with a pilot 1-day field study in the Svalbard area, the course will then continue as a lab-based workshop and discussion. Experts from NIVA, CMR, SIORAS and UNIS will demonstrate the modern approaches of collection and preservation of the floating plastic, subsurface plastics, plastic in the sediments and plastic from the beach. Next, we will discuss and demonstrate the technology of the sample preparation and measurements with MicroNIR spectrometer back at UNIS.
The following day we will have an all-day seminar towards harmonisation of methods of microplastic research. This will include lectures on all stages of marine microplastic research followed by practical exercise on drafting recommendations on improvement and standardisation of existing protocols of microplastic research in the Arctic
An extra day is reserved for a bad weather scenario. This day will be focused on breakout discussions on fostering collaborations between Norway-Russia researchers in the marine microplastic research in the Arctic. Session is aimed at identifying prospective mutual funding opportunities and drafting grant proposal for further mutual projects on microplastic research as a practical exercise.
Finally, future steps and action point will be discussed including (1) writing a review paper on methods of marine microplastic analysis; (2) creating a webpage with relevant information, links and blog-posts.