Reporting Guidelines to Increase the Reproducibility and Comparability of Research on Microplastics

It all started with one tweet! Our very own Board Member, Win Cowger, tweeted out a message soliciting the opportunity to contribute to a paper on Reporting Guidelines for increasing reproducibility and comparability on research pertaining to microplastics. Twenty three people, including the Moore Institute’s Executive Director, from around the world responded to this call for action.

Here is the abstract describing the results:

The ubiquitous pollution of the environment with microplastics – a diverse suite of contaminants – is of growing concern for science and currently receives considerable public, political, and academic attention. The potential impact of microplastics in the environment has prompted a great deal of research in recent years. Many diverse methods have been developed to answer different questions about microplastic pollution, from sources, transport, and fate in the environment, and about effects on humans and wildlife. These methods are often insufficiently described, making studies neither comparable nor reproducible. The proliferation of new microplastic investigations and cross-study syntheses to answer larger scale questions are hampered. We – a diverse group of 23 researchers – think these issues can begin to be overcome through the adoption of a set of reporting guidelines. This collaboration was created using an open science framework that we detail for future use. Here, we suggest harmonized reporting guidelines for microplastic studies in environmental and laboratory settings through all steps of a typical study, including best practices for reporting materials, quality assurance/quality control, data, field sampling, sample preparation, microplastic identification, microplastic categorization, microplastic quantification, and considerations for toxicology studies. We developed three easy to use documents – a detailed document, a checklist, and a mind map – that can be used to reference the reporting guidelines quickly. We intend that these reporting guidelines support the annotation, dissemination, interpretation, reviewing, and synthesis of microplastic research. Through open access licensing (CC BY 4.0), these documents aim to increase the validity, reproducibility, and comparability of studies in this field for the benefit of the global community.

You can download a copy of this paper from Research Gate.

Moore Institute for Plastic Pollution Research Launch Announcement

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new field of study into the plastic “progeny”—micro and nano plastics and their impact on the global Biosphere. We open the Institute utilizing our two state of the art microscopes in the development of new techniques for standardization of analyzing the amount of these particulates in California drinking water.  Captain Charles Moore’s two decades of data collection and analysis of samples in “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” will be the cornerstone for the Institute ‘s focus solely on these minute particles. 

The presence of nano particles in California drinking water has raised alarm throughout the scientific community and the local government sector.  Current techniques utilized by the State in the analysis of the particles in drinking water have dictated the necessity for more advanced investigation into the idiosyncrasies of these miniscule objects and to improve on current methods or protocols used for counting the number of them in drinking water.

There are numerous aspects of investigation that will be part of the Institute’s agenda (schedule) for study in the near term.  Following, or concurrent with the foregoing, we will be conducting  (a) the first long term monitoring of microplastics in  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, based on current analysis of samples collected in the 2019 Expedition and (b) examination of microplastics in local ocean waters and in the air. 


BYO Store Provides Solutions

BYO Long Beach started at the beginning of 2017 with a goal to inspire locals to reduce their trash consumption and focus on reusable alternatives. Perfection is not the goal, but progress.  We can’t all do everything, but everyone can do something.