Dr. Krisztian Magori
Plastic pollution is a large and growing problem in our ever producing world. Not only does it litter our cities, but it is cluttering up the natural world as well, the largest being our oceans. Plastic is dumped into the seas where it floats and slowly breaks down into microplastics that are then ingested by marine animals. I will conduct an experiment to test the effects of micro plastics on coral health by subjecting palythoa corals to different plastic levels in a controlled environment. I hypothesize that corals will ingest micro plastics and will suffer health consequences, leading to a further threat to marine environments and the organisms that rely on a healthy ecosystem. Another human threat to marine ecosystems is the use of sunscreen by swimmers and divers enjoying the sight of ocean reefs. Sunscreen emits harmful chemicals that are detrimental to coral health, even in small amounts. To address this concern, I also tested the effects of a small amount of normal sunscreen and coral safe sunscreen in order to determine their effect on coral health and survivability. I hypothesize that the normal sunscreen will cause damage to the corals, and the coral safe sunscreen will behave like the control, with no detrimental health effects.
Hall, N. M., Berry K. L. E., and L. Rintoul (2015). Microplastic ingestion by scleractinian corals. Marine Biology 162:725–732