EEA and Norway grant fund for bilateral relations strategic initiative application “The spread and dynamics of microplastic pollution in Latvian and Icelandic sea and lake waters – a new cooperation direction launch” receives grant in the amount of 51 893 EUR from Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway in the frameworks of EEA and Norway grant.

Initiative partner in Iceland is the University of Iceland – largest, most prestigious and leading university in Iceland, especially in the field of marine and freshwater research in earth and environmental science faculties. Currently it is the only research institution in Iceland that conducts research on the prevalence of microplastics in marine and lake waters and sediments.

The aim of the initiative is to establish lasting scientific cooperation links with the donor country (Iceland) by jointly studying microplastic pollution in Latvian and Icelandic water ecosystems.

The planned activities for understanding microplastic pollution in Latvian and Icelandic water habitats include:

  1. assessment of microplastics vertical distribution and accumulation rate in Icelandic marine sediments in the Gulf od Reykjavik, as well as comparison of obtained data about vertical distribution of microplastics in the sediments of Gulf of Reykjavik with already existing data about microplastic vertical distribution in the sediments of Gulf of Riga, Baltic Sea;
  2. assessment of microplastics vertical distribution in the deep sediment cores of two Latvian lakes (Lake Seksu and Lake Velnezers);
  3. comparison of distribution of microplastic pollution in Latvian and Icelandic lakes;
  4. the analysis and comparison of the data described above in a broader context to similar studies elsewhere in the world, resulting in two co-written open access scientific publications, as well as presenting the data in conferences, public events and seminars.

The following activities will be implemented to facilitate bilateral cooperation:

  1. experience exchange for the assessment of microplastics vertical distribution in three Icelandic lakes, with Latvian partner participating in field works in Iceland together with initiative partners to learn new methods and skills;
  2. experience exchange for one Icelandic student in Latvian partner’s institution to learn about microplastics research methods, participate in samples collection as well in samples processing and analysis in microplastics laboratory.

The initiative will promote the development of Latvian and Icelandic science and increase its international prestige, as well as the recognition of institutions involved. Project implementation period: 20.06.2022.-30.04.2025.

This initiative application was created using the knowledge and experience acquired in postdoctoral project 1.1.1.2/16/I/001, research application no. 1.1.1.2/VIAA/2/18/359).

LHEI

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