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.

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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.


World Water Day: “Leave no-one behind” March 22nd, 2019

“Sustainable Development Goal 6 is crystal clear: water for all by 2030. By definition, this means leaving no one behind. But today, billions of people are still living without safe water – their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggling to survive and thrive.

Marginalized groups – women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people and many others – are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need.

This World Water Day, 22nd March, is about tackling the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people are being left behind.” – UN Water

Image result for world water day

POSEIDOMM Results in Brief in EU CORDIS !

I am really proud to announce that POSEIDOMM project has been featured in The Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) Results Packs.

“The extent of scientific, political and media coverage around sea and ocean plastic can barely hide an inescapable truth: At this point, we’ve hardly scratched the surface of all the chain reactions this plastic accumulation is setting off.”

With a clear need of better understanding, the immediate “call to action” should remind the only possible solution: STOP POLLUTING OUR WATERS.

You can read the full article here.

CORDIS is the European Commission’s primary source of results from the projects funded by the EU’s framework programmes for research and innovation (FP1 to Horizon 2020). Its mission is to bring research results to professionals in the field to foster open science, create innovative products and services and stimulate growth across Europe.


new paper from POSEIDOMM published in Geosciences

I am very happy to share our new publication related to H2020-POSEIDOMM project, an invited contribution in the special issue Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction in the journal Geosciences (MDPI, Basel, Switzerland) – perspective article.

Plastic Accumulation in the Sea Surface Microlayer: An Experiment-Based Perspective for Future Studies

Credit: PlanetEarth Online

Here’s the abstract:

“Plastic particles are ubiquitous in the marine environment. Given their low density, they have the tendency to float on the sea surface, with possible impacts on the sea surface microlayer (SML). The SML is an enriched biofilm of marine organic matter, that plays a key role in biochemical and photochemical processes, as well as controlling gas exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere. Recent studies indicate that plastics can interfere with the microbial cycling of carbon. However, studies on microplastic accumulation in the SML are limited, and their effects on organic matter cycling in the surface ocean are poorly understood. To explore potential dynamics in this key ocean compartment, we ran a controlled experiment with standard microplastics in the surface and bulk water of a marine monoculture. Bacterial abundance, chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM), and oxygen concentrations were measured. The results indicate an accumulation of CDOM in the SML and immediate underlying water when microplastic particles are present, as well as an enhanced oxygen consumption. If extrapolated to a typical marine environment, this indicates that alterations in the quality and reactivity of the organic components of the SML could be expected. This preliminary study shows the need for a more integrated effort to our understanding the impact of microplastics on SML functioning and marine biological processes.”

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POSEIDOMM project @MICRO2018 Lanzarote


Very interesting conference at an international level! Very excited of being there to present our research work, on the big mesocosm campaign on Tuesday 20th and on the Citizen Observatory in Tuscany on Wednesday 21st!

  • A large scale mesocosm approach to simulate chemical and biological effects of microplastics in a high-plastic ocean (Talk, 20/11. Speaker: L. Galgani)

  • Citizen Observatories to reduce and identify marine plastic pollution loads (Talk, 21/11. Speaker: L. Galgani)

You can find the conference proceedings here!

First paper from POSEIDOMM experiments published in Scientific Reports

Polystyrene microplastics increase microbial release of marine Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter in microcosm experiments

“About 5 trillion plastic particles are present in our oceans, from the macro to the micro size. Like any other aquatic particulate, plastics and microplastics can create a micro-environment, within which microbial and chemical conditions differ significantly from the surrounding water. Despite the high and increasing abundance of microplastics in the ocean, their influence on the transformation and composition of marine organic matter is largely unknown. Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is the photo-reactive fraction of the marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) pool. Changes in CDOM quality and quantity have impacts on marine microbial dynamics and the underwater light environment. One major source of CDOM is produced by marine bacteria through their alteration of pre-existing DOM substrates. In a series of microcosm experiments in controlled marine conditions, we explored the impact of microplastics on the quality and quantity of microbial CDOM. In the presence of microplastics we observed an increased production of CDOM with changes in its molecular weight, which resulted from either an increased microbial CDOM production or an enhanced transformation of DOM from lower to higher molecular weight CDOM. Our results point to the possibility that marine microplastics act as localized hot spots for microbial activity, with the potential to influence marine carbon dynamics” 

Read the full paper at Nature Scientific Reports

Polystyrene microspheres (30 µm diameter, transparent, Sigma) used in our study – microscopic image ©L.Galgani

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Article | OPEN | Published: 02 October 2018 Polystyrene microplastics increase microbial release of marine Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter in microcosm experiments by Luisa Galgani is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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