Last week, a group of lecturers and students from Sam Ratulangi University (UNSRAT) in Manado visited Bangka Island to carry out some field work. Three of the Indonesian students are recipients of our BioN-TT scholarships which are funded by Coral Eye Resort. They were joined by Christian Lott and Miriam Weber who are currently at Coral Eye carrying out research on biodegradable plastics.
The aim of the workshop was to sample porewater, sediment and plastic from the beach within the mangroves for the student projects MICROPLA I and NASYPOLY I. After arrival, the UNSRAT team were given a presentation and received an introduction to the field laboratory before heading to the beach within the mangroves. Students were treated to a lunch wrapped in banana leaves demonstrating the use of plastic free alternatives. Feeling refreshed, they went to the sampling sites and Christian and Miriam explained sampling methods such as porewater sampling with syringes, sediment coring, and „natural plastic“.
The team spent the afternoon collecting enough samples to allow them to study the microbial community growing in the sediment and on the plastic. The team, along with Christian and Miriam, will meet again at UNSRAT next week to start analyzing the samples and continuing the two student projects MICROPLA I and NASYPOLY I.
Supporting scientific research of this nature is a fundamental part of our approach. Understanding the scale and nature of the plastic problem is vital if we are to tackle the issue in the best manner. We look forward to seeing the results of the students’ work.