Overview of the nOAA marine debris program’s funded research

, Uhrin Amy, Herring Carlie.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) is committed to supporting the scientific community to improve the global understanding of marine debris. Since 2013, the MDP has administered a federal grant competition for original, hypothesis-driven projects devoted to marine debris research. To date, over 2.6 million dollars has been awarded to 10 institutions in support of 11 projects. In recent years, funding priorities have focused on risk assessment, emphasizing risk to commercial species from ingestion, confinement or entanglement, and fate and transport of marine debris in the coastal zone. Our portfolio currently includes projects addressing the risk of microplastic ingestion to sea scallops, larval blue crabs, black sea bass, and Eastern oysters. In addition, currently funded projects are examining the role that circulation and biological processes at river plume fronts play in the fate and transport of microplastics, how hydrologic regimes impact plastic flux dynamics from river and wastewater sources, and how biofouling influences vertical transport of microplastics. Here, we will provide a brief overview of preliminary findings from a subset of these projects and discuss their broader implications.

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