Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Microplastics are a persistent problem in many types of ecosystems across the world. The majority of microplastic studies have been conducted in the marine environments as well as larger freshwater lakes and rivers. We investigated microplastic concentrations in a small urban stream and its tributaries in Bloomington and Normal, Illinois. We also considered the relationship between watershed characteristics and microplastic concentrations as well as between seasonality and concentrations. Grab samples were collected in the fall of 2020 and winter of 2021 from Sugar Creek and its respective tributaries. The samples were processed following a standardized method created by the NOAA. Watershed characteristics, such as the area of the watersheds and landcover types, were determined with ArcGIS. We discovered that microplastic concentrations in a small urban stream are high and the particles consistently present across the seasons. There was no relationship between watershed characteristics and microplastics indicating that the source of microplastics is unrelated to these characteristics in an urban area. Our results indicate that urban landscapes are major contributors of microplastics in freshwater environments.
Noseworthy, Caitlin, "Microplastic Concentrations and Types in a Central Illinois Urban Stream" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 1458.