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This research conducted at SIMS will investigate patterns between population density and microplastic contamination in fish.
The work will also investigate the relationship between different feeding strategies of fish and the chance of microplastic ingestion.
We have collected fish samples from four estuaries along the NSW coast and have started processing them for microplastic contamination. This involves dissolving the entire fish guts to isolate the non-biological stomach contents.
The contents are than analysed using RAMAN spectroscopy, using lasers to identify specific spectra reflected from the plastics, which is measured against a library of known spectra.
We hope to identify the types of microplastic contamination specific to these estuaries, whether the contamination is related to population density as well as the type of feeding strategy employed by different fish species.
Research led by Dr Damon Bolton, UNSW Sydney
Supervisor, Professor Emma Johnston, UNSW Sydney