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Minatio Plasticum

2016-2017 – 13 million tons of plastic make their way into our oceans every year. Not only plastic bags and fishing nets, also bigger pieces of plastic like car parts, rubbish bins and other stuff that really should not be there.

Whales ingest it and die of the sharp items or starve with a full stomach or it decays into ever smaller pieces, so small, that it becomes invisible for our eyes. But that’s where carelessness strikes back and becomes threatening. Threatening for the whole ecosystem.

This influence on our environment was the motivation to investigate how science is dealing with this problem. Visits of the german coast of the North Sea doing field investigations and being supported with insights into research on this important topic by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany who study the digestive system of shrimps and mussels and by the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research in Büsum, Germany, who were examining the 11 stranded sperm whales in the beginning of 2017 helped documenting and understanding this issue. There is still a lot to do in many different fields, to work against this ecologic issue. This work gives a small insight.

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Garnele-unter-Mikroskop-Plastikverschmutzung
Specimen slide with slug tracks under fluorescence microscope
Microscopic image of a shrimp, fed with fluorescent microplastic solution before to find out the ways and residues of the microplastic particles (indicated in green colour).
Sandprobe-Plastikverschmutzung
Sediment sample of a beach of Lanzarote.
wasserprobe-plastikverschmutzung
Two saltwater samples with low and high density to make plastic particles float and seperate them from sediment sample
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Laboratory workplace at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany
Student Špela Korez holding two saltwater samples in which microplastics are being separated from sediment with the help of high density saltwater
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Whiteboard in the office of Biologist Lars Gutow showing an experiment scheme
to study the hereditability of temperature tolerance of crustaceans

Garnele-unter-Mikroskop-Plastikverschmutzung
Garnele-unter-Mikroskop-Plastikverschmutzung
Miesmuschel-unter-Mikroskop-Plastikverschmutzung
Microscopic image of a shrimps digestive gland (fluorescent microplastic particles).
Microscopic image of a shrimps digestive tract (fluorescent microplastic particles).
Microscopic image of a mussel (fluorescent microplastic particles).
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Petri dish with shrimp under fluorescence microscope
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Hall of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany
Look on the port of Bremerhaven out of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany
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Biologist Melanie Bergman of the Alfred Wegener Institute
Office of Melanie Bergman
expeditionsschiff-heincke-bremerhaven
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Research vessel "Heincke" laying in the port of Bremerhaven
Research instrument to take water samples in different depths of the water
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Biologist Lars Gutow on research vessel "Heincke"
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Outside the Building of the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW)
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Plastic items found in different spermwhales which stranded in the beginning of 2017 on the coast of Schleswig-Holstein (f.l.t.r.: 60 cm big car part, rubbish bin, ships rope, 'Snickers' wrapping, coffee capsule)
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A 13 meter long fishing net, found in one of the 13 sperm whales stranded on the coast of Schleswig-Holstein in the beginning of 2017
Graduation show "Werkschau 2017", Bielefeld, Germany.
Exhibition "Minatio Plasticum", FH Bielefeld
Exhibition "Minatio Plasticum", FH Bielefeld
Exhibition "Minatio Plasticum", FH Bielefeld
Exhibition "Minatio Plasticum", FH Bielefeld
Exhibition "Minatio Plasticum", FH Bielefeld
Exhibition "Minatio Plasticum", FH Bielefeld
Exhibition "Minatio Plasticum", FH Bielefeld
Exhibition "Minatio Plasticum", FH Bielefeld