Meet the students who started the microplastics research at SIT
by Dr Christine Liang
In 2019, Niamh Edginton (supervised by Dr Anna Palliser and Dr Claudia Gonnelli), investigated numbers of microplastics in two Invercargill waterways. She isolated and counted microplastics 1 – 5 mm in size. She found that 11 out of 16 samples showed a presence of microplastics (up to 25 particles).
The following year, in 2020, Cicy Zhang (supervised by Dr Christine Liang) used a USB digital microscope (1600X) and was able to identify even smaller particles (~1/10 mm in size) in samples from the same two Invercargill waterways that Niamh looked at. Using the USB microscope, Cicy also categorised her microplastics into the 4 F’s (foam, film, fibre, fragment) and different colours. She found up to 231 particles in a sample.
If you are interested in learning more, check out their research here:
Niamh’s research article https://www.sit.ac.nz/Portals/0/upload/documents/sitjar/2020/SITJAR - Envir 2020.pdf
Cicy’s dissertation http://wastenet.org.nz/~/media/WasteNet/Images/MicroInvestigators/2020 - Student Research - Microplastic Report_Cicy Final.ashx