12/14/15

UpClose: An insider’s view of plastic pollution research

The latest edition of the UpClose interview series takes readers behind-the-scenes of Great Lakes plastic research.

In 2012, chemist Lorena Rios-Mendoza took part in the first-ever sampling of microplastics in the lakes, a project that revealed that Lake Erie has a higher concentration of minute particles than the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Since then, she has led a number of studies to improve understanding of the chemicals that build up on the surface of microplastics and how photodegradation affects those chemicals and the plastics themselves.
UpClose with Lorena Rios-Mendoza is the tenth issue of the award-winning Q&A series that gives readers an insider’s view of research on emerging contaminants. The series kicked off in 2012 with Timothy Strathmann, an environmental engineer at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Later editions featured the work of John Kelly, a microbiologist at Loyola University Chicago, Rebecca Klaper, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Dana Kolpin and Barbara Mahler.

Each interview highlights a unique component of emerging contaminant research—everything from tracing their source to understanding how they impact aquatic life. Readers also learn about the complex, and sometimes tricky, process of conducting field studies and the potential implications of research on industries and regulations.

UpClose is produced by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Illinois Water Resources Center. Editions are available in print and online. For print copies, contact Laura Kammin at lkammin@illinois.edu.

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