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Heriot-Watt launches Year of the Sea – Heriot-Watt University

In 2018 Heriot-Watt is celebrating the Year of the Sea, a calendar of engagement that will span schools, the public, academia, industry Scapa Flow (Heriot-Watt)collaborators, funders and policy makers. 

Scapa Flow (Heriot-Watt)

Heriot-Watt’s research often makes waves, and in 2018 we’ll be focusing on demystifying the depths of the oceans, finding ways to get more energy from the sea, examining the smallest sea creatures to the largest ocean systems, and engineering new ways to work with our seas, oceans and rivers. 

Scapa Flow mircroplastic levels match industrial UK waters

As part of the university’s Year of the Sea, Heriot-Watt University is calling for a nationwide effort to establish a baseline for microplastics in UK waters.

Sediment samples from the beaches around Scapa Flow have a similar level of microplastics to the industrialised, highly populated Clyde and Firth of Forth, research from Heriot-Watt University shows. 

Scientists from Heriot-Watt and Orkney Islands Council took over 100 sediment samples from 13 locations around the Scapa Flow, and compared them to samples from the Clyde and Firth of Forth. The results showed that microplastics were present in all 13 samples taken from Scapa Flow, despite its remoteness and Orkney’s small population.

Orkney Island Council will now routinely test for microplastics during its annual sandy shore monitoring programme, and Heriot-Watt University will provide analysis. 

Dr Mark Hartl, associate professor of marine biology at Heriot-Watt University, is calling for a nationwide effort to establish a baseline for microplastics in UK waters, as part of the university’s Year of the Sea. 

Dr Mark Hartl said: “Heriot-Watt has named 2018 as our Year of the Sea, and these are  surprising results to begin our research and engagement programme with. 

 

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