The list of research objectives of our project can be reviewed below:
OBJECTIVE A: CHARACTERIZE THE EXPOSURE OF AQUATIC AND TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS TO MICROPLASTICS.
A1) Quantify and characterize the microplastic content of wastewater effluents across Canada.
A2) Determine the quantity and types of microplastics in different types of biosolids, manure, municipal composts, biosolids-amended soils, soils where plastic mulching has occurred, and unamended soils.
A3) Characterize degradation products of microplastics in soil.
A4) Determine the microplastics content in freshwater mussels, emergent insect larvae, and freshwater and terrestrial oligochaetes from wild populations along with the matrices in which they live (i.e., water, sediment, soil).
OBJECTIVE B: CHARACTERIZE THE EFFECT OF MICROPLASTICS ON BIOTA FROM DIFFERENT TROPHIC LEVELS IN TERRESTRIAL AND AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS. INVERTEBRATES
B1) Determine the threshold of effects and accumulation of microplastics in soil on the survival, growth, and/or reproduction of springtails, isopods, and oligochaete worms.
B2) Determine the threshold of effects of microplastics on ant colonies.
B3) Determine the threshold for microplastics in water that cause adverse effects in different life stages (larval, juvenile, adult) of freshwater mussels.
B4) Characterize the accumulation of microplastics in the tissues of freshwater mussels.
B5) Determine the threshold for microplastics in sediment that causes adverse effects on survival, growth, and/or reproduction of aquatic oligochaete worms and the potential for bioaccumulation.
B6) Determine the concentration of microplastics in biofilms that affects the survival, growth, and/or reproduction of mayflies (Neocloeon triangulifer) and pulmonate snails (Planorbella pilsbryi).
B7) Determine the effect of microplastics exposure on the gut microbiome of terrestrial oligochaetes, isopods, freshwater oligochaetes, and freshwater mussels.
B8) Determine the concentration of microplastics in soil that effects plant seedling emergence and growth and changes in plant-associated microbial communities.
B9) Assess the impact of microplastics on the soil food web, including the functional diversity bacteria, fungi, herbivores and fungivores. Identify the important factors associated with key soil biogeochemical cycles (N, P and C) that are affected by microplastics (i.e., influence on micro and macrofaunal cycling of N, P and C).
OBJECTIVE C: CHARACTERIZING THE RISK OF MICROPLASTICS TO FRESHWATER AND TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS
C1) Conduct a probabilistic ecological risk assessment of microplastics on freshwater and soil ecosystems.