Free Lecture: Plastic pollution in the Laurentian Great Lakes: the state of the science and how it informs policy

In-Person Meeting Location: Emmanuel College, Room 001; University of Toronto St. George Campus
In-Person Building Address: 75 Queen’s Park Cres E, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7

Online Meeting Location:
Meeting ID: 844 2852 0763
Passcode: 289188
Phone Call-in Number: +1-647-558-0588

Plastic pollution in the Laurentian Great Lakes: the state of the science and how it informs policy

Chelsea Rochman, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

Description: Plastic debris is accumulating in ecosystems across the globe. As concern rises around the risks of plastic debris in valued ecosystems, more studies have documented the presence of plastic debris, both macro- and micro-, in the Laurentian Great Lakes basin. Plastic pollution has been reported in sediments, surface waters, and biota across the Great Lakes basin. It has also been reported in drinking water. In addition, studies have demonstrated that microplastics can lead to toxicity in local fauna, and risk assessment frameworks suggest some species may be at risk. This talk will: 1) characterize the monitoring and research efforts regarding plastic pollution across the Great Lakes; 2) synthesize the current understanding of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes; 3) suggest effective strategies to track and report plastic pollution in the Great Lakes based on management objectives; and 4) propose metrics for using plastic as a science-based ecosystem indicator.

Biography: Chelsea Rochman is an Assistant Professor in Ecology at University of Toronto and co-founder of the U of T Trash Team. Chelsea received her PhD in Ecology from UC Davis and San Diego State University. In addition to her research, Chelsea routinely advises governments on policies related to plastic pollution

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The Toronto Field Naturalists wish to acknowledge this land through which we walk. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississauga of the Credit River. Today it is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be on this land.