MikroPlaTaS - Microplastics in Dams and Reservoirs: Sedimentation, Spread, Effects

The spread of microplastics in rivers shows that along a given watershed there are not only sources but also sinks or repositories. Thus, dams and resevoirs constitute important (but heretofore hardly investigated) parts of a water system in the sense that they serve as examples for risk vs. usefulness of sedimentation of microplastics. Biofilms, which grow on microplastics, have a special significance for their transport and sedimentation.

The goals of this project are

  • to identify and characterise microplastic in water and sediment
  • to understand how biofilms form on plastic and how sedimentation occurs on these grown-over particles
  • to record how microplastics affect and are taken up by individual organisms as well as by entire communities in model ecosystems and
  • to synthesise the scientific results and draft practical recommendations based on them.

This synthesis should emphasise identifying pathways to eliminate microplastics and to derive practical measures and risk analyses together with the associated partners.

Project meeting in Bielefeld

© M.Mueller

The project partners met in Bielefeld to conduct a mid-term evaluation of the project and to take up the detailed planning for a common large-scale project in Neu-Ulrichstein in 2020.

Scientific conferences

© Marie Müller

MikroPlaTaS presented four talks and three posters at the annual conferences of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland and the German Limnological Society. Topics included the sinking behaviour of microplastics in stratified lakes, as well as the effects of microparticles on the population growth of nematodes, the effects of plastics on the nutritional value of biofilms for snails, and the ingestion of microplastic by rotifers. The respective sessions on plastic in the environment were organised by project members and were well attended.

Project meeting in Potsdam

The project partners met in Potsdam to discuss current results and issues. Among the sampling sites, the Lippe and the Bautzen reservoir were chosen for further field campagnes to investigate the sedimentation of plastic particles.

Status conference of the research focus "Plastic in the Environment - Sources, Sinks, Solutions"

© Ecologic Institut

At the status conference on the 9th and 10th of April first results from the 20 joint projects of the research focus were presented in Berlin.

Project meeting in Münster.


On 10. and 11. 12. 2018 a project meeting of MikroPlaTaS took place at the Institute of Landscape Ecology (ILÖK) in Münster.

Presentations were given on the ongoing projects of the doctoral students and scientific questions and data from the field study were discussed.

Sampling in the 'Rieselfelder Münster' completed.

Scientific conferences and poster price of the DGL.

© Diana Michler-Kozma

With contributions from the UFZ and WWU, the project MikroPlaTaS was represented at two scientific conferences last week: The "Umwelt2018" from 09. - 12.09.2018 in Münster and the annual meeting of the German Society for Limnology e.V. (DGL) in Kamp-Lintfort from 10.-14.09.2018.

There, the poster "Biofilme auf Plastikpartikeln und deren Nährwert für das Makrozoobenthos" (Biofilms on plastic particles and their nutritional value for the macrozoobenthos) of Diana Michler-Kozma and Rense Jongsma was honored by the vote of the conference participants as one of the five best posters with the poster price of the DGL.

Sampling on the River Ems and in Bautzen and Quitzdorf completed.

Sampling at the Lippe and the Malter Dam has been completed.

Camera team of WDR Lokalzeit Münsterland accompanies sampling on the Lippe.