Current Research

We are currently working on two projects. The first is a long-term monitoring project examining plastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The second is participating in an international method standardization project to inform policy makers of the best methods to analyze microplastics in multiple matrices.

Monitoring the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The is the first monitoring study of microplastics in “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, spanning over a 20 years. We will be working on analyzing samples collected from “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the summer of 2019 as part of five sampling efforts that have taken place since 1999. The Algalita Marine Research and Education Foundation has collected all of these samples at the same eleven stations. This study enahances our understanding of whether the amounts of plastic are increasing in the Garbage Patch and will help us understand the factors that influence how we will sample in the future.

Standardizing Methods for Drinking Water

We are participating in an international methods standardization effort to improve the precision and accuracy of currently utilized methods for analyzing microplastics in drinking water. In 2019, Assembly Bill 1422 was passed, requiring the State of California Water Resources Control Board to define microplastics in drinking water and recommend standardized protocols for assessing the amount of microplastics. The Moore institute will be one of 34 laboratories from around the world using various methods to analyze samples with known amounts of these minute particles. The results will be used to inform the State Water Board in making recommendations to drinking water providers who will be required to test their drinking water. Through engagement in this study, we look forward to becoming one of the first laboratories certified by the State of California to do these analyses.