Aiken Besley, a recent graduate from Leiden University College, managed to publish his work in the international journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.
His undergraduate research focused on standardizing extraction and sampling methods for microplatics on beaches. A range of studies have found significant levels of microplastics in beach sand. However, he highlighted that there is a considerable amount of methodological variability among these studies. This variation makes it difficult, and often impossible, to compare across studies, as there is no standard procedure for sampling or extraction of microplastics. He identified key variations in sampling and extraction procedures across the literature through a detailed review. He found that sampling depth, sampling location, number of repeat extractions, and settling times are the critical parameters of variation.
Next, using a case-study he determined whether and to what extent these differences impact study outcomes. By investigating the common practices identified in the literature with the case-study, he provides a standard operating procedure for sampling and extracting microplastics from beach sand.
The full article can be found here.