Tracing the lateral transport of microplastic particles with an advanced-imaging sCMOS camera

, Laermanns Hannes, Klee Marcel, Steininger Florian, Löder Martin, Bogner Christina.

The impact of microplastic particles (MPs) in different ecosystems has recently become subject of numerous studies. However, the research of the last years has focused mainly on marine ecosystems and neglected terrestrial environments so far. This has led to a substantial lack of knowledge about the transport mechanisms of MPs in soils and sediments. While first studies in this field investigated the abundance of MPs in soils, only little is known about their surface transport. In this study we investigate surface transport mechanisms and patterns through a new approach using images of advanced scientific complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (sCMOS) high-resolution camera. The experimental set-up includes a flume box with an inclined surfaces of different roughnesses and an artificial irrigation system installed at the top end. Transport pathways of MP are studied under different irrigation rates, inclinations and surface roughnesses using fluorescing amorphously shaped polystyrol particles. Time series of the images are analysed using a combination of R and Python packages (Hardy et al., 2017. j.catena.2016.11.005). Preliminary results suggest that the MPs are transported along preferential pathways depending on the microrelief. While higher inclination probably leads to a shift from laminar to turbulent flow, increased irrigation rates seem to have only a minor influence on the MP transport.

View online