Join us for our monthly Chapter meeting at Shoreline Surf and Sport!
We will be hosting a presentation by Garth Covernton on microplastics. Drinks and snacks are provided. Everyone is welcome!
Garth is a MSc student at the University of Victoria, co-supervised by Dr. John Dower and Dr. Sarah Dudas. His work as an undergrad at UBC on the effects of shifting estuarine salinity on whelk populations sparked his interest in the interaction between marine ecology and anthropogenic change. Garth’s current research investigates microplastic contamination in cultured and wild bivalves and their environment around Vancouver Island. He plans on transferring into the PhD program this year to expand his current work and study the accumulation and transfer of microplastics in BC marine food webs.
Microplastic contamination is an emerging threat to marine ecosystems. Many aquatic animals, including fish, mammals, molluscs, and other invertebrates have been shown to ingest microplastics. These particles can disrupt digestive and reproductive processes, act as vectors for other harmful pollutants, and reduce overall animal health. In British Columbia, bivalves are economically important for both aquaculture and wild harvest. As nonspecific filter feeders they are susceptible to ingesting and concentrating microplastics from the water column. Shellfish aquaculture often uses plastic infrastructure (e.g. anti-predator netting and fencing, etc.) that may become degraded and release microplastics. Garth is a MSc student at UVic conducting research on microplastic ingestion on shellfish farms and nearby reference sites by two commercially important species, Manila Clams (Venerupis philippinarum) and Pacific Oysters (Crassostra gigas). His talk will outline the ocean microplastic problem in general, present some preliminary results from his research, and suggest some strategies for reducing microplastic contamination of the environment.