Dr Grant Northcott, Director, Northcott Research Consultants Limited and Dr Olga Pantos, Research Scientist, Institute of Environmental Science and Research
Microplastics are pervasive in our environment. They are present in all environs, from the deepest ocean trenches to the highest mountains, and are being found to be ingested by more and more species. However, this area of research is still in its infancy and the sources, fate and impacts are not fully understood.
This webinar aims to outline the current state of knowledge around microplastics (and nanoplastics), exploring the knowledge gaps and potential solutions to this pollution problem.
This 60-minute webinar will cover:
- Definition of MPs: Types and sources – 10 minutes
- Distribution and fate in the environment – 15 minutes
- Impacts and risk of MPs in the environment and to human health – 15 minutes
- Knowledge gaps – 10 minutes
- Q & A – 10 minutes
About the presenters:
Olga Pantos is a marine biologist with a passion for understanding the impacts of anthropogenic effects on ecosystems and organisms. After completing an undergraduate degree in Marine and Environmental Biology at the University of St Andrews, UK, she went on to do a PhD at the University of Newcastle, UK. This project investigated the microbial communities associated with healthy and diseased reef-building corals. After completing her PhD she moved to San Diego State University for two years, and then to the University of Queensland, where she investigated the impacts of rising sea temperature, eutrophication and ocean acidification on the microbial communities associated with tropical coastal ecosystems, and the subsequent impacts on both ecosystem function and organism health.
When she moved to New Zealand in 2015, her research focus changed to looking at the impacts of microplastics, in particular how they affect microbial communities and ecosystem function. She is co-lead of a 5-year MBIE Endeavour Fund project looking at the levels and impacts of microplastics on New Zealand’s marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments, and the investigation of mitigation and microbial remediation options. The project team is made up of 16 researchers from 5 organisations, with expertise ranging from environmental chemistry to microbiology.
Grant Northcott is an environmental and analytical chemist and expert on the fate and effects of organic contaminants in the environment. Grant completed his BSc in chemistry at Waikato University and PhD at the Institute of Environmental and Biological Science, Lancaster University, UK. Grant began his career working for NIWA in Hamilton before moving to the UK to complete his PhD, followed by a two-year postdoc project funded by Unilever.
Grant returned to NZ in 2002 where he worked for HortResearch and subsequently, Plant and Food Research. Since 2012 Grant has operated his own research consulting business. He leads the contaminant chemistry research within the 5-year MBIE Endeavour Funded Emerging Organic Contaminants research program, provides organic contaminant expertise in ESRs Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research program and co-leads the 5-year MBIE Endeavour Funded Microplastics Research Program, for which he leads the contaminant chemistry research objective.