As many people enjoy swimming, boating and fishing on the lakes, a new threat has emerged, endangering the long-term health and prosperity of the expansive bodies of water. Man-made micro-plastics, created from the degradation of plastic waste in water, is becoming a major concern within the Great Lakes. Fish and other organisms consume the plastics, which then makes its way into the food chain, endangering other organisms and disrupting the existing ecosystems.
Alan Steinman, professor and director of the Annis Water Research Institute (AWRI) is conducting research on which organisms are attracted to in micro-plastics. Doing so will provide a better understanding of how these plastics interact with the base of the food chain, illustrating their negative effects within the Great Lakes.