October 24, 2017

Lending expertise to fight the global problem of microplastics

UW-Superior’s Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza will lend her expertise to the global problem of microplastics when she attends the JPI Oceans Pilot Action mid-term review meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

UW-Superior’s Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza will lend her expertise to the global problem of microplastics when she attends the JPI Oceans Pilot Action mid-term review meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

Microplastics have been identified as an artificial substrate which could affect ecological processes

UW-Superior’s Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza will lend her expertise to the global problem of microplastics when she attends the JPI Oceans Pilot Action mid-term review meeting taking place this week in Lisbon, Portugal.

An associate professor of chemistry, Dr. Rios Mendoza is serving as one of three project evaluators and will be the only representative from the United States, for the project Ecological Aspects of Microplastics, which was proposed by Germany and includes coordinators from Spain and Norway.

This project involves comprising methods, monitoring and effects of microplastics. JPI Oceans research has found that “microplastics are persistent, ubiquitous and have a high potential to cause physical and toxicological harm. Microplastics have been identified as an artificial substrate which could affect ecological processes and facilitate transportation of invasive species. However, knowledge about the origin, abundance and distribution of microplastics in marine systems is still limited. Furthermore, the toxicological and ecological effects on marine organisms and ultimately on human health are also insufficiently studied.”

Dr. Rios Mendoza has gained national and international attention due to the unique work she and her team at UW-Superior are doing to understand the sources, impacts and solutions to increased plastics in oceans and the Great Lakes. Microplastics, microbeads and plastic fibers, are being found in water worldwide. These tiny plastics attract toxins, are eaten by aquatic bugs and fish and make their way up the food web to our dinner plates. Dr. Rios Mendoza and her plastics research was involved with legislation in Wisconsin that bans microbeads in the water.

UW-Superior’s Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza will lend her expertise to the global problem of microplastics when she attends the JPI Oceans Pilot Action mid-term review meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

UW-Superior’s Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza will lend her expertise to the global problem of microplastics when she attends the JPI Oceans Pilot Action mid-term review meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

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