Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland


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MASTS members help plastic litter pollution Citizen Science Project


Quentin, who has been the Harbour Master of Dunbar Harbour for the last 5 years has been proactively engaging with the fishing and wider community to improve the environmental footprint of the harbour.

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, he learned about potential funding offered by Sea Changers, a UK Marine conservation charity. He had one week to forward an application prior to the deadline, and was successful in receiving an award for just over £1100 for the proposal.

The art science project is titled “Plankton and Plastic” and is projected to run over the course of the summer holiday period. Young people from local schools, groups and clubs are invited to participate.

Each participant will begin their activity by collecting 90μm of filtered seawater samples from the Dunbar harbour and examining these with a digital microscope in order to capture images of plankton species and microplastics. The best 11 images captured will be blown up onto 1 metre squared panels and displayed on the harbour walls forming an outdoor art science exhibition. The harbour walls will feature information panels about the project, highlighting the importance of plankton, the environmental challenges these species are facing and how this affects the fishing community. There will also be a panel acting as a call to action for people to reduce plastic pollution.

A post along with all the best images will be uploaded to the Dunbar Harbour Trust website in due course. They have already captured some great photos of plankton species and also fragments of plastics measuring about 1mm.

When a collection of samples were gathered, they needed to understand what species of plankton were therein. Quentin reached out to MASTS to assist him in identifying these species of plankton. MASTS members Malcolm Baptie and Margarita Machairopoulou were very helpful in both identifying species and also offering valuable information and advice.

Tackling plastic litter pollution and also industrial waste from the fishing industry has involved a number of different strategies and this project represents another strategy to engage with the fishing and wider community. The objective of the project is to increase communities’ awareness of the importance of plankton and also the challenges of microplastic pollution. The optimistic outcome of this project moving forward, is to elicit behavioural change in people who visit the harbour.

For more information about the project or how you can get involved, please contact Quentin at: [email protected]

If you want to learn more about Sea Changers, please visit:



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