EMME is a multidisciplinary project which aim is to broaden the current knowledge on drivers affecting the distribution pathways, fate, biological effects and ecological consequences of microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea.
WHAT DOES THE PROJECT CONSIST IN?
To characterize and model microplastics distribution in the Mediterranean Sea and develop knowledge and some indicators about their biological impacts and ecological vulnerability, EMME is organized around 7 highly complementary activities:
- Investigation of the transport dynamics of microplastics and the formation of permanent accumulation zones through observations, high resolution simulation and field sampling activities;
- Identification of drivers affecting distribution of microplastics at different depths;
- Biofouling dynamics characterisation and test among selected model species;
- Characterisation of microplastics in several species from different areas and depths to provide evidence and hypothesis about their ingestion and transfer by these marine organisms;
- Evaluation of the ecotoxicological risks of microplastics in the selected model species;
- Study of the role of filter feeding bivalves in accelerating the transport of microplastics from pelagic (sea water) to benthic (sea bottom) environments;
- Awareness raising on ecological risk of microplastics targeting multiple publics (scientists, national public authorities, private sector, citizens, schools) through innovative approaches such as an itinerant exhibition combining digital art with scientific content and a Web TV.
Overall, EMME is expected to provide a scientifically sound support and advise for normative and monitoring guidelines. Tangible outcomes of the project include:
- a comprehensive dataset of distribution and impacts of MPs in Mediterranean marine ecosystems;
- a modelling-based tool to visualize distribution and dynamics of MPs, to assist decision-makers in coherent monitoring and mitigation actions;
- novel analytical tools for detecting MP impacts on marine organisms and ecosystems, and vulnerability indicators;
- training new scientists on MPs pollution for the emerging Blue Growth market;
- itinerant exhibition and web TV to maximize the outreach of EMME.
EMME is a PRIN project being implemented by a consortium of 5 Italian and 1 Spanish partners led by the Polytechnic University of Marche.