Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,080 Total Non-Federal Funds: $20,160
Principal Investigators: Daniel Snow, Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, Jerald Bricker
Abstract: There is growing concern worldwide about the use and occurrence of plastic waste in fresh and marine water environments. The use of petroleum-derived plastics products is now ubiquitous in our society and waste products from these products are highly visible globally. The flow of polymer residue into the environment is not likely to diminish. In the U.S. alone, plastic products represent a $427 billion industry with manufacturing alone accounting for nearly $309 billion dollars of revenue per year. This project will pair an existing aquatic ecology course and ecological research at Nebraska Wesleyan University with ongoing water research at the University of Nebraska to develop a 12-month research experience for undergraduate science students. The sampling will be designed to provide maximum exposure to undergraduates in science to an emerging water resources and quality issue. The data collected will also provide important information on microplastic occurrence in freshwater systems and across a land use gradient from agricultural to urban land uses.