AUSMAP research and PROJECTS
AUSMAP, Australian Microplastic Assessment Project, is the leading microplastic citizen science project in Australia. To accomplish the vision of making microplastics a visible problem in Australia, we have been involved in many of our own projects. This includes our major projects AUSMAP Phase I and Phase II, EPA funded research projects, Reefclean and many more.
more to be added....
AUSMAP KEY PROJECTS
AUSMAP PHASE I
During Phase I of AUSMAP, between its conception in July 2018 until September 2019, the project focused on developing the approach and the initial roll-out of the program while becoming nationally recognised as the leading citizen-science microplastic project in Australia.
The methodology was proven to be a scientifically robust, yet user-friendly method, for marine litter action in Australia. Multiple stakeholders, mostly community groups and schools, were engaged and gathered high-quality data from almost 200 beaches that will assist in informed management and policy recommendations.
AUSMAP PHASE II
Phase II of AUSMAP was concluded between October 2019 and July 2020. In this period AUSMAP continued to grow and has achieved impressive results despite the COVID-19 crisis. In Phase II we focused on gathering data from a broader geographic spread, and on increased engagement and action.
In this period, the AUSMAP hotspot map was launched, social media growth was between 30% and 43% across various channels and 13,000 unique visitors landed on the website. We reached a greater understanding in the scale of the microplastic problem, we were able to implement on-the-ground action for informed management, and documented behavioural change amongst AUSMAP participants.
The ReefClean project is a program of marine debris activities aimed at reducing the volume of debris generated in or entering the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and increasing awareness in Reef catchment communities about the issue of marine debris and actions they can undertake to prevent litter.
AUSMAP Microplastic surveys formed part of community clean-up activities at 19 coastal sites around the GBR to improve awareness of the impacts of microplastics on the environment and contribute to mapping the extent of microplastic accumulation around waterways and beaches. (All sites sampled in 2019, had very low to low microplastic levels.)
Microplastic source reduction
Dee Why Lagoon - EPA Grant Round 5
AUSMAP, Australian Microplastic Assessment Project, is currently surveying the microplastic hotspot, Dee Why Lagoon, as a part of an NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) grant in an effort to reduce microplastic pollution into the area. Drain buddies have been installed to determine the microplastic source locations. This data will be collected and communicated to local governments, regulators and the community. Consequently, stormwater nets will be installed in the microplastic hotspots to catch the pieces of microplastics and prevent them entering the waterways. This grant was obtained in close collaboration with the Northern Beaches Council.
Scouting for Microplastics with TASMANIA SCOUTS
Microplastic levels are unknown particularly in Tasmania. The Scouting for Microplastics project addresses the ecological and socioeconomic impact of microplastics by engaging future leaders through the Tasmanian scouting network. By doing so, we enhance their understanding of environmental systems, as well as plastic impacts.
This project will engage ‘Venturer Scouts’, an important age group as they are making decisions about the future, for themselves and the planet. This project offers a unique opportunity to undertake activities that will encourage a positive life, while learning new skills to help the environment, supporting better management outcomes and changing behaviours.
KAB WA COMMUNITY LITTER GRANT
AUSMAP was able to secure the Keep Australia Beautiful Western Australia Community Litter Grant in collaboration with our Western Australia community leader Claire O'Loughlin.
This community litter grant will be put towards developing the AUSMAP microplastic assessment project even more in WA. The grant will also include the installation of microplastic ballot boxes. The aim of this project is to increase the knowledge and capacity of communities to take charge of the plastic litter problem and magnify community awareness of these issues, whilst providing education about how to reduce littering in their local area.
Research Dissertations using the AUSMAP Method
the ecotoxicological impacts of microplastic pollution in the Australian marine environment using the AUSMAP method
Brooke Kelly researched the ecotoxicological impacts of microplastic pollution in the Australian marine environment using the AUSMAP method for her Master of Research thesis. Brooke’s thesis looked at whether Australian seals and sea lions ingest microplastics when they prey on fish and squid species.
Brooke used AUSMAP methods to sample microplastics on beaches near the seal colony of Phillip Island (Victoria) to see what microplastics are in the waters surrounding the seals, therefore determining what is available to them, and their prey, during hunting. Brooke found that seals can eat small microplastics (mostly fibres and mostly blue in colour).