Analyzing Water Quality and Identifying Microfibers in the Lake Michigan Watershed
Dr. Julie Peller
Arts and Sciences
Public awareness of the issue concerning microplastics and microfibers in our water systems has slowly increased over the last few years. Since research is still in its preliminary stages, the degree that these artificial residues have on the health of the ecosystem or the health of aquatic species is unknown. In attempts to gather some information about the issue in the local Lake Michigan Watershed, a team of Valparaiso University students began research in the summer of 2015. Macroinvertebrates from various locations in the watershed were collected and analyzed to locate microplastics. Although microplastics were not found, a surprising abundance of microfibers from the digested macroinvertebrates were identified. Even more surprisingly, these microfibers were able to be isolated from only 500 mL of water samples in all tested locations of the watershed. These findings are currently in the process of being quantified to obtain sufficient data describing the extent of the microfiber pollution present in the Lake Michigan Watershed.
Hanson, Jessica L. and Janesheski, Troy J., "Analyzing Water Quality and Identifying Microfibers in the Lake Michigan Watershed" (2017). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 662.