Plastic Vectors Project

Our overarching aim is to quantify the significance and function of microbes in the ‘plastisphere’, and to work towards feasible solutions for reducing these multi-pollutant risks.


Field Work

Lab Analysis


Key research objectives:

  1. Quantify microplastic release into rivers and model the plume formation dynamics of microplastics through transitional waters and out into coastal waters
  2. Characterise the microbial colonisation dynamics on microplastics during transfer from freshwater into the ocean, including metabolic capability (e.g. key biogeochemical processes)
  3. Evaluate the load of pathogenic viruses, bacteria and toxic algae on microplastics
  4. Quantify the importance of the plastisphere for facilitating AMR gene transfer within biofilms
  5. Characterise the ability of microbial communities within the plastisphere to degrade plastics and plastic-associated pollutants
  6. Develop recommendations for environmental monitoring guidelines to inform a risk assessment protocol transferable across the UK and beyond