Scientists investigate microplastics in Barents Sea

Scientists investigate microplastics in Barents Sea

July 06, 2021

The Arctic Floating University took part in the expedition.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The ice-class scientific expedition vessel Mikhail Somov, having left Arhangelsk, visited the White and Barents seas, as well as two polar archipelagos – Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land.

55 people, including 20 students and graduate students, attended the expedition of the Arctic Floating University. The participants were able to detect for the first time the emission of CO2 from ecosystem soils.

The unique data will make it possible to predict the response of the Arctic ecosystems to climate change and anthropogenic pressure.

In addition, the expedition first explored microplastics in the sea and on the coast of the islands.

Microplastics are polymer particles less than five millimeters in size. They are formed from bags, bottles, any other plastic packaging, car tires, peeling paint, washed down the drain after each wash of synthetics, the use of shampoos, shower gels, scrubs, washing powders and toothpaste with granules.

Despite the fact that Bell Island is uninhabited and extremely rarely visited by people, scientists have found a lot of garbage on its coast. On the Kara coast, researchers found ten times less anthropogenic debris than in the Barents sea. At the same time, the composition of the garbage is different: from the side of the Barents sea it’s mainly fishing tackle, plastic bottles of European production, and at the Kara sea coast it’s garbage of local origin.

Scientists have also investigated microorganisms that migratory birds bring to the Arctic. They are associated with the emergence of pathogens of infectious diseases, including bacteria that cannot be treated with antibiotics.

Another point of the trip was the assessment of the state of the high-latitude Arctic oldest building – the Eira house on Bell Island, built in 1881, as well as a wooden lighthouse on Cape Zhelaniya, Soviet monuments and defensive structures during the Great Patriotic War.

During the three weeks expedition scientists have worked in 13 scientific areas.

We previously reported that scientists collected valuable data on sea unicorns in the Arctic. We also reported that the famous polar explorer Vladimir Chukov visited Norilsk. In addition, two scientific expeditions will work in Taimyr in the summer.

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Text: Mikhail Tuaev, Photo: Nikolay Gernet, Ekaterina Garankina, Brendan Bannon and open sources

July 06, 2021

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