MARINE LITTER RESEARCH EXPEDITION ACTIVITY IN THE TUSCAN ARCHIPELAGO NATIONAL PARK

- TRAVEL JOURNAL -

23

July

Today, ISPRA’s vessel ASTREA is setting sail for the last set of sampling activities in the northern part of Corsica. 

The team is heading to Capraia Island and crossing the area where supposedly a plastic island is floating.
3 fin whales were spotted during the journey, while also 6 floating micro-litter and 12 floating macro-litter surveys were performed.

21

July

“There is no plastic island between Corsica and Italy"

Direction Corsica

“There is no plastic island between Corsica and Italy” said François Galgani (IFREMER), refuting the related information often circulated by the media AND demystifying the plastic island concept which is merely hyperbole.

It is of crucial importance to bridge the gap between science and media in order to ensure that societal actors are provided with accurate and reliable information that can pinpoint effective actions

Cristina Fossi, UNISI 

20

July

Direction Corsica

Our project team continued the marine litter research expedition in the Mediterranean and reached Bastia where they were joined by OEC (Office de l'environnement de la Corse).

Colleagues from Ifremer, UNISI, OEC and ISPRA are joining forces!

19

July

The research team will soon be back in the laboratory to proceed with the analysis of the samples collected

 

The soon-to-come results will facilitate a comprehensive diagnosis of the impacts of marine litter on biodiversity and endangered species in Mediterranean MPAs. 

Endangered Species

The team collected 4 skin biopsies of striped dolphin

18

July

The marine litter research expedition in the medias

16

July

Giannutri Island

Our marine litter research expedition in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park is coming to an end at the island of Giannutri.
 
In total, we carried out 41 floating microlitter surveys & 73 floating macrolitter surveys, collected 7 skin biopsies, 115 samples of mussel specimens & 11 pools of neustonic organisms

14

July

Field update from the Plastic Busters MPAs marine litter research expedition in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park: our team reached the Montecristo Island, the most remote island of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park where they are carrying out floating micro-litter surveys and sampling mussels to investigate the potential impact of plastics.

Colleagues from ISPRA and Francois Galgani from Ifremer came on board today to contribute to the research. Marine litter is a threat that knows no borders and collaboration among and between Mediterranean countries is essential to tackle it effectively.

12/13

July

Our project team together with @isoletoscane and the Executive Secretary of the @Pelagos_ , Costanza Favilli continued the marine litter research expedition in the island of Pianosa, in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.

This area is recognized as a very important site for endemic species; in fact our team was lucky enough to sight the Audouin' s gull (Larus audouinii), a large gull restricted to the Mediterranean and the western coast of Saharan Africa and the Iberian Peninsula.

In the evening, our team dropped anchor at the island of Pianosa and opened the doors of the Astrea research vessel to the public, which was informed about the marine litter threat and the activities of the research expedition in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.

11

July

Our marine litter research expedition is headed toward the island of Capraia -the northwesternmost of the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. Today’s surveys identified the presence of litter accumulation areas, thus confirming the presence of marine litter hotspots in the Mediterranean as predicted by our transport model.

Today we targeted and sampled invertebrate species such as mussels in order to detect potential impacts of plastics on biodiversity. The specimens collected nearby the island of Capraia will be analyzed for microplastics ingestion.

We are also collecting samples of floating microplastics in order to examine them for the presence of pathogen species. Given the potential of micro-plastics to travel large distances across ocean barriers, microplastics can act as a global vector for pathogens and disease transport

Let’s summarize!

During our first week at sea, in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park: we carried out:
- 20 floating micro-litter surveys
- 32 floating macro-litter surveys;
and we collected skin biopsies of cetaceans and mussel specimens for micro-litter analysis.

9

July

Our marine litter research expedition in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park is in full swing! 

Today we have spotted 8 fin whales -the second largest species of animal on the planet- close to the Elba Island. 
We collected skin biopsies to investigate the potential interaction of this endangered species with plastic litter.
Floating micro-litter via manta trawl surveys were also sampled.

We were blown away seeing the fin whales today and we are thrilled with the precious samples we collected that will provide us with valuable data for our research

Prof. Maria Cristina Fossi, UNISI

 

 

Raising awareness 

In the night, students from Legambiente came aboard the Astrea vessel, the occasion for the Plastic Busters MPAs team to raise awareness about the marine litter research expedition in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. 

8

July

Field update from the Plastic Busters MPAs marine litter research expedition in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park: we spotted an accumulation area of floating litter that confirms the presence of marine litter hotspot areas in the Med as predicted by our marine litter transport model. 

 

8TH JULY 2019: THE LAUNCHING OF A MARINE LITTER EXPEDITION IN THE TUSCAN ARCHIPELAGO NATIONAL PARK

 
The Plastic Busters MPAs team is ready to take you on a journey to the Tuscan Archipelago National Park on ISPRA's vessel named Astrea, for the most comprehensive marine litter monitoring and research activity ever realized in this MPA. Two field expeditions will take place: one in July 2019 and one in September 2019.

The field activities will be carried out by UNISI and ISPRA in close collaboration with IFREMER and LaMMA, while collaborators from the Union for the Mediterranean and the Interreg Med Joint Secretariat will also join.

The Plastic Busters MPAs team is kick-starting a 2-week marine litter research expedition in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. We are delighted to welcome onboard journalists from the Italian TV channel Rai who are preparing a reportage on our field activities.

focus
The Tuscan Archipelago National Park  

The Tuscan Archipelago National Park, established in 1996, covers an area of 79,160 hectares of sea and land that go from Livorno to the Argentario promontory. It includes seven islands in all: Capraia, Elba, Giannutri, Giglio, Gorgona, Montecristo, Pianosa, as well as the Formiche of Grosseto and other small rocks. Among all Italian National Parks, the Tuscan Archipelago is the one characterized by the strongest integration of land (22%) and sea (78%) and the largest number of islands, significantly distant and different from each other, rich in endemic species.

The Park protects the natural heritage of the area and ensures the conservation of its astonishing biodiversity; it is recognized as an important area for plant diversity and is characterized by the presence of protected sea birds of significant importance, such as the Gabbiano corso – the flagship species of the Park - the Berta maggiore and the Berta minore.

 

Read more at: www.islepark.it