GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 182-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


VILLEGAS MARTINEZ, Gabriela, School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, 1201 W University Dr., Edinburg, TX 78539

Micro-plastics are a growing problem in any part of the planet. However, little research has been done in the Rio Grande Valley, so I am currently working on gathering samples in two locations at South Padre Island, Texas. I decided to collect samples from a more trafficked area and another site that is more isolated from tourism. At these sites, I am taking three samples at approximately 5 m2 from each other: one at the base of the sand dunes, another from dry sand, and the last sample will be taken from wet sand. Collections are taking place once during the summer, fall, and spring seasons to determine if there are any significant changes in the abundance of micro-plastics washed ashore. To separate the sand gradients from the micro-plastics, I am using three different sieves that are helping with the initial separation process and a flotation method that will ultimately separate the sand from the plastics. My next step is to use a gravitational density method that will allow me an easy and economic method to classify these polymers as Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3.