First Advisor

Elise Granek

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science and University Honors


Environmental Science


Microplastics -- Environmental aspects -- Oregon, Plastic marine debris -- Environmental aspects -- Oregon, Pacific oyster -- Effect of water pollution on -- Oregon




Anthropogenic debris is “found across all habitats in the ocean, including coral reefs, shallow bays, estuaries, the open ocean, and the deep sea” (Rochman et al., 2015). Microplastic pollution is widespread in the marine environment and poses a threat to a variety of organisms, including commercial shellfish grown for human consumption. The aim of this study is to establish a baseline of microplastic evidence in Oregon through the examination of Crassotrea gigas--or the Pacific Oyster. In addition it hopes to determine if there are differences in microplastic concentration geographically and temporally. Five oyster samples were collected in Spring 2017 from a total of six sites, three Northern and three Southern to establish a geographic range of XXXX Pacific oyster aquacultures. Another five oyster samples were collected from a single Northern site during Summer 2017 to address temporal variation. Microplastics were extracted using a 10% KOH solution and identified under a dissecting microscope. The research suggests that there is no significance difference geographically or temporally. However, the study does establish the uptake of microfibers by Pacific oysters, which could not only harm the organism, but raises concern for human consumption.


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