We are so glad you found us!
You are welcome to follow our work in Thailand with marine, endangered animals and marine awareness. Here you can read our newest blog posts about what we have been up to.
Ella and I have been busy working with the microplastic samples from Thailand. Today we made a trip to Lahti, a city about 100 kilometers north of Helsinki, to start the chemical identification of our mystery particles. Distinguishing plastic from other small particles such as mussel shells or small minerals is really not as easy as it sounds by just looking at them under the microscope. Our goal is to find out what material the small plastics consist of in order to get a better understanding of where the plastic originates from before ending up in the ocean.
So far, the only source we can be 100 % sure of is paint. Both red and blue paint fragments were present in our samples from Chalong Bay where quite a few long tail boats were resting. The other sources are yet to be determined from spectra looking like the one on the picture. Now we just need to learn how to interpret them!
Can you spot the paint fragments?
This could be the spectra of a plastic polymere - or not. We are yet to define it :)
It was really interesting to get to work with the technique that was new to both Ella and me. The biggest challenge was probably to get the microscopic samples in to the analysing unit. The tiny particles were bouncing around and very hard to get a hold of with the small tweezers. Ella did a great job though! We still have a lot of particles to go through and a lot of work remains but I am sure we will get everything done. We got so much help from a plastic expert at Lahti University of Applied Sciences, thank you Reijo!
Ella placing the tiny sample in to the analysing unit.
The contributors to this blog are the marine biologists Maria Koivisto (left) and Anu Riihimäki (right).