Plastics can affect air-sea CO2 exchange: new paper out from our experiment in Crete

We are very glad to announce that a new paper from our mesocosms study in Crete, at the CretaCosmos facility, has just been published.  It was an international team’s effort between Italy (University of Siena), Greece (Hellenic Center for Marine Research) and Germany (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel).

Our research shows that marine microplastics in almost realistic concentration can actually influence the chemical composition of the marine boundary layer, the layer that represents the very ocean’s surface and connects the ocean and the atmosphere, regulating all gas exchange processes between the two. Such effect of microplastics has important repercussions on the exchange of carbon dioxide at the air-sea interface, posing the question on how much, in the long term, plastic pollution can alter the ocean’s ability to capture anthropogenic CO2 and mitigate climate change. 

The full published paper can be read in Science of the Total Environment.

The accepted manuscript can be viewed here.

new publication following POSEIDOMM experiments..

Our new open access publication in the special issue “Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions” in the journal Environments (MDPI) is out:

Microplastics Contamination Versus Inorganic Particles: Effects on the Dynamics of Marine Dissolved Organic Matter

This short communication paper highlights some findings of Amedeo’s Master thesis work on the comparison between inorganic and plastic particles in a laboratory microcosms setup. This paper follows previous work during the POSEIDOMM project. 


new POSEIDOMM publication – for kids!

It’s hard to explain “hard science” in simple words. We often tend to lock up in our labs in the pursuit of a mission. But if we are not able to communicate our science outside academia, aren’t we missing the track? Isn’t our mission losing some of its meaning?

We decided to try something new: “translate” one of POSEIDOMM papers in a paper that kids could read, and judge. It has been really challenging, but a great experience. The paper has been reviewed by super smart kids (Anna, Clara, Stephan, and Karina) full of curiosity and great questions.

It has not been easy, we tend to take most of the things we write for granted. I am really happy that finally the paper is out, and I have to thank a special person – my sister Teresa – for her drawings. She drew three pictures for this paper, and I think they are really beautiful!

Heres’ the publication:

How Can Plastic on the Sea Surface Affect Our Climate?

Frontiers for Young Minds 

Figure 1 - The biogeochemical carbon cycle in the ocean.

Teresa’s drawing of the carbon cycle in the ocean 

Copyright © 2020 Galgani and Loiselle
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

POSEIDOMM Talk at Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020 @San Diego, CA

Ocean Sciences Meeting Logo

Two years of POSEIDOMM project presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020 in San Diego, CA (USA)!

Talk AI52A-06 – Enhanced production of dissolved and particulate organic matter in the presence of microplastics at the air-sea interface

Session AI52A – Processes Affecting Air-Sea Exchange and the Biogeochemistry of the Upper Ocean II.

Thanks to Raquel Somavilla Cabrillo for the pictures!

While there, it was also a great experience to co-lead the workshop in:

Communicating Science through Storytelling 

together with colleagues from the ASLO Outreach Subcommittee Elisha M Wood-Charlson from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Ngozi Margaret Oguguah from the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research. 


new paper in Environmental Research Letters!

Proud to announce the acceptance of our first manuscript from the MESO-Plastic experiment @ Cretacosmos, Greece in Environmental Research Letters – IOP Publishing, open access publication.

“Microplastics increase the marine production of particulate forms of organic matter”

click on the title to read the paper! 

the mesocosms of the MESO-Plastic experiment in Crete, 2017

Here’s the abstract: 

“Microplastics are a major environmental challenge, being ubiquitous and persistent as to represent a new component in all marine environments. As any biogenic particle, microplastics provide surfaces for microbial growth and biofilm production, which largely consist of carbohydrates and proteins. Biofilms influence microbial activity and modify particle buoyancy, and therefore control the fate of microplastics at sea. In a simulated “plastic ocean”, three mesocosms containing oligotrophic seawater were amended with polystyrene microbeads and compared to three control mesocosms. The evolution of organic matter, microbial communities and nutrient concentrations was monitored over 12 days. The results indicated that microplastics increased the production of organic carbon and its aggregation into gel particulates. The observed increase of gel-like organics has implications on the marine biological pump as well as the transport of microplastics in the ocean.”


As the Version of Record of this article is going to be/has been published on a gold open access basis under a CC BY 3.0 licence, this Accepted Manuscript is available for reuse under a CC BY 3.0 licence immediately.

Editorial: Impacts of Marine Litter

Frontiers in Marine Science – article published, introducing the Research Topic “Impacts of Marine Litter” 

Picture by Adam Porter – “What a Fine Mess We Have Made”, winner of the 3rd place EPHEMARE photo contest IMPACT 2017 

“Marine litter is an urgent environmental threat comprising primarily plastic debris. Yet, the global production of plastic is expected to double over the next decades, with envisaged severe impacts across ecosystems and societies. This editorial introduces to the Research Topic “Impacts of Marine Litter”, aiming at a better understanding of marine litter impacts from the ecological, ecotoxicological, economic, and social point of view. This Research Topic also aims at proposing new strategies for the prevention, mitigation and monitoring of marine litter. With its 13 published papers, the Research Topic provides new information on the environmental distribution (including sources and sinks) of marine litter across the globe, as well as on the impacts of plastics’ associated contaminants to marine micro and macro fauna. It also highlights constraints and priorities for conducting exposure experiments of marine wildlife to plastics, discusses regulation and policy measures for land waste management and litter disposal at sea, and identifies remaining knowledge gaps which should be the focus of future interdisciplinary research and policy interventions.”

Read the full Editorial here.

Read the 13 published papers of the Research Topic “Impacts of Marine Litter” here.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

From the EGU General Assembly in Vienna, 2019…

Happy to share with you! Last week we were at EGU General Assembly 2019 to present POSEIDOMM results. We had a poster in the session “Plastic in the environment: observing and explaining where it comes from and where it goes” 

on display on Monday, 8th of April. Our poster presentation was titled:

“Microplastics Influence Carbon Dynamics of Marine Surface Waters”

and you can find the abstract here.

A highlight of the General Assembly was undoubtedly the Science and Society Dialogue of Geoscientists with Ilaria Capua and Mario Monti, focusing on Science and Politics.

“The dialogue between scientists, institutions, policymakers and the general public is widely recognised as an essential step towards a fair and sustainable society. Nowadays, more than ever in human history, international cooperation is an essential requirement for protecting the planet, advancing science and ensuring an equitable development of the global economy.”

You can stream the full talks by clicking on the image here below.


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