Plastic Debris in Aquatic Habitats

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 4:10:00 PM - Wednesday, March 1, 2017 5:30:00 PM
Rm.149(basement), Earth Sciences Building, 5 Bancroft Ave.
Environment & Health Seminar

CHELSEA ROCHMAN, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

ABSTRACT: Discarded plastics are a global environmental problem across several habitats. In aquatic habitats, plastic pollution is reported globally in lakes and marine coastal and pelagic habitats from the surface waters to the benthos. This material is associated with a cocktail of contaminants, including those that are added during manufacturing (i.e. BPA, PBDEs, phthalates, lead) and those that sorb to the material from ambient seawater (e.g., DDT, PCBs, PAHs, copper). It is now understood that several marine organisms across multiple trophic levels ingest plastic debris in nature. This includes fish and bivalves that we purchase for our own consumption. As such, there is concern regarding how this material may pose a threat to food security and food safety. Using recent insights from field and laboratory experiments, this presentation will include information regarding the sources, fate and impacts of plastic debris and associated priority pollutants in aquatic habitats. 

BRIEF BIO: Chelsea Rochman is a trained Ecologist with emphases in Marine Ecology, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Chemistry. She is interested in the side-effects of industrialization on the environment and its inhabitants. Her broader research interests regard the ecological effects of anthropogenic contaminants on wildlife and human resources (e.g. water, seafood). More specifically, her current focus is the implications of the infiltration of plastic debris into aquatic habitats. In addition to her academic research, Chelsea participates in policy meetings and working groups to translate scientific research beyond academia.