Bonus Projects


Multilevel assessment of microplastics and associated pollutants in the Baltic Sea

Project website

MP sampling in the Baltic Sea (photo: Sonja Oberbeckmann)

BONUS MICROPOLL studies the multilevel impacts of microplastics (MP) themselves, of associated pollutants and of attached biofilms on the ecosystem Baltic Sea. The hazard potential and impacts of these substances will be determined by i) detecting the recent status regarding MP in the Baltic Sea (abundance, composition, sources, sinks), ii) exploring the vector function of MP for associated pollutants and biofilms, and iii) in situ and laboratory experiments, exposing marine organisms from different trophic levels to defined levels and size classes of MP and POPs. 

The results of BONUS MICROPOLL will not only fill existing knowledge gaps regarding MP distribution and ecological impacts, but also serve as a solid framework for the implementation of source and impact prevention aimed measures for the reduction of
plastics pollution in the marine environment. Anticipated project outcomes are listed below.
  • Providing the baseline for MP distribution, sources and fate in the Baltic Sea
  • Clarifying impact of MP, associated contaminants and biofilms on Baltic food webs
  • Specifying existing indicators for descriptor 10, in particular indicator 10.1.3: “Trends in the amount, distribution and, where possible, composition of micro-particles (in particular micro-plastics)”
  • Making available a spatio-temporal model to better understand MP cycling and mitigation in the Baltic Sea
  • Providing cost-effective detection and monitoring methods
  • Providing MP mitigation strategies, e.g. waste water treatment technology
  • Creating a GIS-based Baltic Marine (Micro) Litter Atlas with broad range of spatial MP data, expandable with other litter fractions
  • Advising and training of end users and stakeholders
  • Sharing project results regarding MP pollution and prevention with the general public

Project team

Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende, Germany (coordinator)

Klaipeda University, Lithuania

Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden, Germany

National Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Poland

Stockholm University, Sweden

Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL, Sweden

Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

Kickoff meeting at IOW in July 2017 (photo: Rene Janßen)