Plastic Busters MPAs in the lab

During the Plastic Busters MPAs marine litter research expeditions carried out in 2019 (spring, summer, autumn), a lot of samples of different marine compartments (seawater, sediment, biota) were collected.

 These samples will now be processed at the laboratory in order to assess the presence of marine litter in Mediterranean pelagic and coastal MPAs and its impact on marine wildlife.

Welcome to the “Plastic Busters in the Lab” section, where you have the opportunity to follow the Plastic Busters MPAs’ work undertaken in the lab, where the samples collected during the marine litter research expeditions will be processed.

Over the spring, summer and autumn months of 2019, harmonized methodologies for monitoring the presence and impacts of marine litter in Mediterranean pelagic and coastal MPAs have been tested. The marine litter research expeditions were carried out at the Pelagos Sanctuary, the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and the Cabrera Archipelago National Maritime-Terrestrial Park.

Researchers carried out surveys to assess the amounts, types and sources of marine macro- and micro-litter found on beaches, the sea-surface and the seafloor.

Skin biopsies from key species such as fin whales, sperm whales, striped dolphins and bottlenose dolphin, faeces samples of monk seals and blood and feather samples of the seabird Scopoli’s Shearwater were also collected to shed light on the marine litter impact on endangered species.

Other biota samples collected from different species such as isopods, lanternfish, bogues, anchovies, mussels, sea urchins, holothurians, etc. will be used to assess the amount of ingested litter by these organisms and the potential effects.

Welcome to the Plastic Busters MPAs in the lab!




Studying the potential presence of micro-litter in the gastrointestinal tract of the European anchovy



FisH & invertebrate species 

Investigating the potential ingestion of plastics by fish and invertebrate species





Investigating the ingestion of micro plastics in mussels and fish, the ingestion of marine litter by sea turtles, the genotoxicity of microplastics in seabirds and the presence of microplastics in the feaces of Mediterranean seal monk. 




The journey of a skin biopsy: from the sea to the lab to define the impact of marine litter on endangered species