Microplastics risk assessment in American Samoa

Female student standing with a bag containing pieces of plastic by sea shoreDr. Beth Polidoro, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Deputy Director, was recently awarded $195,837 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program to implement a screening-level ecological risk assessment for microplastics in American Samoa. In collaboration with the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Polidoro and PhD student Tiffany Lewis will quantify the type and concentration of organic contaminants and microplastics in near-shore marine ecosystems and locally-consumed seafood in American Samoa. Results of the two-year study will be used to estimate ecological risk to marine ecosystems and human health risk in American Samoa. Results will inform ongoing environmental regulation, educational outreach and marine conservation efforts across the South Pacific. The project also includes extensive participatory training, education and capacity building opportunities for local researchers, community fishers and American Samoa Community College students.