PLAWES - Microplastic contamination of the model system Weser - Wadden Sea National Park: an across-ecosystem approach

PLAWES homepage

In PLAWES, the modeling system of the German national park Weser Wattenmeer is the first to investigate in detail the microplastic pollution of a large European river basin. PLAWES will conduct a pioneering analysis of the microplastic contamination of river sources through to the North Sea (northern Atlantic Ocean) that transcends both disciplines and ecosystems and accounts for various point sources (sewage treatment plants, separation systems) and diffuse sources (drainage, atmosphere) of pollution. The results flow into a model for identifying primary transport mechanisms and accumulation zones. The research will investigate the effects of microplastics on ecosystems in the Weser-Wattenmeer system by analyzing the interaction of microplastic with pathogens in biofilm and aquatic invertebrates. Outcomes of this particularly ecologically relevant aspect will be used to estimate the environmental risk of microplastics for the model system, and subsequently for other systems. In addition, the results of the analysis will become part of new teaching materials in order to provide a knowledge platform for teachers, students and parents across Europe. PLAWES will generate unique data about the effects of microplastics on a large European river basin and its environment. This will be significant not only for policymakers and stakeholders, but also as a foundation for science-based solutions to the microplastics problem.

Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
Universität Bayreuth
Lehrstuhl für Tierökologie I / UBT
Universitätsstraße 30
D-95447 Bayreuth

Project Partner:
Dr. Martin Wagner
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt
Department Aquatic Ecotoxicology
Max-von-Laue-Str. 13
D-60438 Frankfurt am Main

Project partners:
Forschungsstelle Küste im Niedersächsischen Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft, Küsten- und Naturschutz / NLWKN
Forschungszentrum Jülich / FZJ
Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Bundesforschungsinstitut für Ländliche Räume, Wald und Fischerei / TI-LR
Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Institut für Chemie und Biologie des Meeres / UOld

Federal Ministry of Education and Research