Investigating Plastics and Mercury in the Mississippi River.

August 14, 2019

Dr. James Cizdziel, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and member of the Center for Biodiversity & Conservation Research was awarded a $220,000 National Institute for Water Resources grant from the USGS to study microplastic pollution in the Mississippi River System. This is the first time that Mississippi has received this highly competitive award. In the 3 year project, Dr. Cizdziel and graduate student Austin Scircle will systematically quantify the concentrations and loads of microplastics and characterize their shapes, size distribution, and chemical composition in the Mississippi River System—a source of drinking water to over 18 million people. They will also determine the role microplastics play in the transport and fate of mercury in aquatic systems by conducting fundamental studies on the sorption of toxic and bioaccumulatable types of mercury with the particles.