The third year marine biology students have focused on pollution on beaches over the last five weeks. They reviewed literature, each reporting back on a topical paper. Using this background information they then designed a sampling protocol and in small groups each sampled two beaches along the metropolitan Adelaide coastline. Transects in dunes, tide line and low water were evaluated to determine the types and amount of marine debris and plastics collected to enumerate mass of material. Amounts of debris varied by beach with the majority of debris on most beaches being plastic. Debris was generally found in greatest amounts in the dunes. Future research will focus on microplastics in sediment from each beach.
This schematic, by Catherine Larkin, focuses on two of the beaches examined.