AUSMAP projects and research collaborations

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.

As of June 2021, AUSMAP is also part of the newly announced NSW Plastics Action Plan 2021! It covers the important outcomes to reduce plastic pollution and the actions they will take to achieve them. AUSMAP has been highlighted as 'a tool for tracking the progress of the above outcomes and monitoring the NSW environment'. Read the full action plan here

If you think AUSMAP would be a valuable addition to your project, send us an email at info@ausmap.org.

We've highlighted some key projects below, undertaken by the AUSMAP team and key collaborators.

AUSMAP KEY PROJECTS

Microplastic source reduction AT Dee Why LagooN

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. Stormwater nets and 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.

 

The collaborative study will be undertaken by AUSMAP, Surfrider Foundation Australia, Macquarie University and Northern Beaches Council, and has been funded through a grant from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

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Microplastic source reduction AT Dee Why LagooN

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. Stormwater nets and 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.

 

The collaborative study will be undertaken by AUSMAP, Surfrider Foundation Australia, Macquarie University and Northern Beaches Council, and has been funded through a grant from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

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AUSMAP PHASE I & II

From July 2018 and July 2020, AUSMAP completed the first two phases of the project, which focused on developing the approach,  the roll-out of the program and gathering nationwide data.  During which time, AUSMAP became recognised as Australia’s leading citizen-science microplastic project.  

 

The scientifically robust method to train citizen scientists has led to multiple stakeholders, including community groups, teachers, environmental educators and high-school students, being trained in the AUSMAP method to enable them to collect scientifically rigorous data.  

AUSMAP Microplastic Sample locations Aus

Over 250 samples have been collected nationwide. From Yallingup in far southwestern Australia, northwest to Port Hedland, across to Cox Peninsula in NT, far east to Thursday Island and far south to Hobart, this data was processed and put into our interactive hotspot map. 

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580 new AUSMAP Leaders trained at 32 events.

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125 field kits were designed & distributed.

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Created an online interactive training course!

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Our social media grew 43% and our website received 13,000 unique visitors!

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collaborating with 325 organisations from various stakeholders.

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200 university students from various  universities work with AUSMAP

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8000 high-school students educated & engaged.

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18 national & international conference presentations & workshops.

2000 community members involved & 475 corporate engagements.

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> 100,000 microplastics removed

Reefclean X AUSMAP microplastic research

REEFCLEAN - TANGAROA BLUE  FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIP

ReefClean, funded by the Federal Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and AUSMAP, is a program of marine debris activities along the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) with two specific aims:

  • Reducing the volume of debris generated in or entering the GBR that may impact ecosystems of the GBR or species such as dugongs and turtles; and

  • Increasing awareness in Reef catchment communities about the issue of marine debris and actions they can undertake to prevent litter from entering Reef waterways.

 

AUSMAP Microplastic surveys formed part of community clean-up activities at 19 coastal sites around the GBR, from Cape York to the Burnett-Mary region, to map the extent of microplastic accumulation along waterways and beaches and improve awareness of the impacts of microplastics on the environment. 

 

Fortunately, all sites sampled during 2019, had very low to low microplastic levels.  We look forward to further sampling across the region during 2020 and beyond.

Read the full report of the ReefClean and AUSMAP collaboration.

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EPA LITTER REDUCTION GRANT

AUSMAP received a grant as part of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Community Litter Grant Program.  The Community Litter Grants aim to help deliver the NSW Government target to reduce litter by 40% by 2020 across the state. 

AUSMAPs objective is to develop and test a framework for Microplastic Litter Reduction in NSW, using our Dee Why project as a pilot study. This will now be extended to three diverse regions: an inland farming catchment (Dubbo), a tourist coastal catchment (Ballian) and an urban city catchment (Cooks River Sydney).

Macquarie University and Southern Cross University will be partnering with AUSMAP to form the evidence base for a flexible step-by-step rapid response approach for reducing macro and micro litter regionally at the local government level.  This project will utilise the AUSMAP tools to deliver outcomes set out under NSW EPA Litter Prevention Strategy.

AUSMAP project EPA littler reduction grant with Cooks River
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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 hope to enhance their understanding of environmental systems, as well as plastic impacts.

 

In early 2021, we plan to head to Tasmania to tackle this project, which will engage ‘Venturer Scouts’ (aged 13 to 19 years), an important age group as they are making decisions about the future, for themselves and the planet.  It 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.

 

Watch this space!

Research Dissertations using the AUSMAP Method

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Brooke Kelly

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).

MORE PROJECTS TO BE ADDED SOON!

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