Meet the Editors
Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Department at Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Prof.dr. Bart Koelmans is an environmental chemist and ecotoxicologist by training, heading the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Department at Wageningen University (The Netherlands). In the field of plastic research, his group aims to bridge the gap between conceptual and empirical approaches, in order to obtain a mechanistic understanding of the risks of microplastic for human health and the environment. Bart is a global highly cited researcher (Clarivate analytics), advises international organisations like the World Health Organization and the UN (GESAMP expert groups), and led international working groups about risks of plastic pollution, such as the SAPEA expert group on Microplastics in Nature and Society.
Tim van Emmerik
Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Tim van Emmerik is an experimental hydrologist and aims to provide accurate and reliable data to solve societal water-related challenges. As plastic pollution of aquatic ecosystems is an emerging hazard, his ambition is to develop river plastic monitoring techniques that can be applied to (1) quantify plastic pollution any river around the world, and (2) optimize plastic pollution prevention and reduction strategies. A holistic approach is key, as rivers, societies and their interconnections vary greatly around the world. River plastic pollution is a complex problem that crosses spatiotemporal scales. Tim’s research focuses on developing methods that can be applied at both the field scale (single rivers) and global scale (continental assessments).
Laboratoire Environnement Ressources Provence-Azur-Corse (PDG-ODE-LITTORAL-LERPAC), France
François Galgani, PhD in Oceanology from the University of Marseille/ France, is a Project manager at IFREMER, with more than 30 years of research in Marine Pollution. He is specialized in Ecotoxicology, Chemistry and Marine Litter, with a focus on seafloor litter, monitoring and management. He is member of many international expert groups such as the IOC/ GESAMP on plastic pollution, the UNEA / scientific Advisory Committee on Marine litter, and the expert groups from various Regional Sea conventions (UNEP/MAP, OSPAR). Francois Galgani is also Chair of the European Commission/DG ENV/MSCG Technical Group on marine litter, since 2011.
TG Environmental Research, UK
Dr. Todd Gouin received his PhD specializing in the field of environmental chemistry from Trent University, in Canada, through the Watersheds Ecosystems Graduate Programme in June 2006. Following his graduate studies, Dr. Gouin, has obtained both experimental and modelling experience in assessing diverse chemical exposures including current use pesticides in Costa Rica and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Arctic regions of Alaska. More recently, he was employed for eight years by Unilever, where he was involved in the development and application of tools aimed at both screening and prioritization of chemicals and high-tier risk assessment methods. He now provides research consultancy work on a range of topics, where his current activities include the development and application of risk assessment methods for particulates, such as microplastic particles, nanomaterials, and UVCBs, as well as the development and application of models to better assess chemical exposure for both humans and the environment.
Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
Lesley Henderson is Professor of Communications at the University of Strathclyde. Her PhD was completed in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Glasgow and she has held research and teaching posts at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Brunel University London where she also founded and led the Sustainable Plastics Research group (SPlasH). Lesley has an extensive track record in research which explores the interlinked areas of science, public health, and environmental communications. She is an expert in leading interdisciplinary challenge focused research on public perceptions of (micro)plastics and behavioural change with current projects in Indonesia, UK, Spain and Germany (NERC/GCRF/UKRI/European Space Agency funding total 4.5 million GBP). She has published widely on communicating science and risk and contributed to policy on marine pollution, plastics pollution and microplastics for EU, DEFRA, UN. She is member of the peer review college, European Science Foundation, UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab and panel member for strategic UKRI and Science Foundation Ireland programme calls and has been invited to provide independent scientific advice for industry and business.
Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, University of Vienna, Austria
Thorsten Hüffer is an analytical and environmental chemist. He obtained a Master degree in Environmental Management from the Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) in 2010, and did his doctoral studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), graduating with a PhD in Analytical Chemistry in 2014. He is currently Senior Scientist at the Department of Environmental Geosciences at the University of Vienna (Austria). His expertise is regarding the fate and transport of carbon-based particulate contaminants in environmental systems. His research on micro- and nanoplastics has focused on sorption and desorption processes of organic compounds to/from plastics including tire materials in aqueous and terrestrial environments, as well as on the impact of biotic and abiotic ageing processes on particles properties. Since 2016, he is also head of the expert committee on “Plastics in the aquatic environment” within the German Water Chemistry Society.
Photo credit: SFB 1083
Semiconductor Photonics, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
Martin Koch received the Diploma and PhD degrees in physics from Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg, Germany, in 1991 and 1995, respectively. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow with Bell Labs/Lucent Technologies, Holmdel, NJ, from 1995 to 1996. From 1996 to 1998, he was with the Photonics and Optoelectronics Group, University of Munich, Munich, Germany. Since 1998, he has been an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany. In 2003, he spent a three-month sabbatical at the University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara. Since 2009, he has been a Professor of experimental semiconductor physics with the Philipps-Universität Marburg. Prof. Koch was awarded the Kaiser-Friedrich Research Prize in 2003, and the IPB Patent Award in 2009. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves. In 2019 he received the Exceptional Service Award of the IRMMW-THz Society. His research fields include ultrafast spectroscopy on semiconductors, terahertz spectroscopy and devices, semiconductor disk lasers and the spectroscopic detection of microplastics.
University of Bayreuth, Germany
Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch holds the chair of Animal Ecology I at the University of Bayreuth and is Vice president for Research and Young Scholars. His research focuses on biological adaptation to environmental stressors and in this context, he investigates ecotoxicological effects of anthropogenic substances using state-of-the-art techniques. He was among the first authors addressing the contamination of freshwater ecosystems with microplastics. Current microplastic expertise ranges from sampling, extraction and purification and identification of microplastics from different environmental matrices (water, soil, air, biota) with a strong focus on method development and on the ecotoxicological effects of microplastics from the cellular to the ecosystem level. He is/was involved in 27 of national and international microplastic projects and he currently coordinates the worldwide first Collaborative Research Centre on Microplastics (https://www.sfb-mikroplastik.uni-bayreuth.de/en/), the EU Training network on the topic microplastics LimnoPlast (www.limnoplast-itn.eu) and the interdisciplinary collaborative project on microplastics PLAWES:(https://www.bayceer.uni-bayreuth.de/PLAWES/index.php?lang=en). He regularly gives invited talks about microplastics to the general public, industries and policymakers.
Kara Lavender Law
Sea Education Association, USA
Dr. Kara Lavender Law is Research Professor at Sea Education Association (SEA; Woods Hole, MA), studying the sources, distribution, transformation and fate of plastic debris in the ocean. Trained as a physical oceanographer, Dr. Law has more than 12 months of sea time on oceanographic and sailing research vessels, including in the eastern North Pacific and western North Atlantic Oceans where plastic debris accumulates in regions dubbed, “garbage patches”. Dr. Law’s current research interests focus on the sources of plastic to the marine environment, understanding how ocean physics determines the distribution of plastic and other marine debris, and the degradation and ultimate fate of different plastic materials in the ocean. She is co-chair of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) Working Group FLOTSAM (Floating Litter and its Oceanic TranSport Analysis and Modelling), and serves as the co-principal investigator of the Marine Debris Working Group at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). Dr. Law holds a PhD in physical oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a BS in mathematics from Duke University.
Environmental Systems Science Department, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Denise M. Mitrano is an assistant professor at ETH Zurich in the Environmental Systems Science Department. As an environmental analytical chemist, her research focuses on the distribution and impacts of anthropogenic materials in technical and environmental systems. She is particularly interested in developing analytical tools and processes to mechanistically understand the fate, transport and biological interactions of particles, such as metal colloids, engineered nanomaterials and nano- and microplastics. In this context, her research group uses these results to assess risks of anthropogenic materials. An interest in a “safer by design” approach for both nanomaterials and plastics continues by working on the boundaries of environmental science, materials science and policy to promote sustainability and environmental health and safety of new materials.
Urban and Environmental Psychology Research Group, University of Vienna, Austria
I am an Environmental Psychologist specialised in interdisciplinary collaboration. My applied work focuses on perceptions, attitudes and behaviour change, particularly in the areas of plastic pollution, energy efficiency, and protection of natural environments. I have undertaken funded research for UK research councils (EPSRC & ESRC), UK government departments (DEFRA & DECC), EU funding bodies (ESIF, FP7, H2020) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). My publications include papers in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, Environment & Behavior, Nature Human Behaviour and Scientific Reports, with more than 60 publications since 2010. I serve on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Environmental Psychology and Environment & Behavior. I have provided science advice and input into policy at national, European and international levels, always contributing psychological and behavioural science perspectives. At the UN level, I have worked on microplastics with the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Pollution (GESAMP WG40, http://www.gesamp.org/), and with UNEP on a global stocktake of actions against plastic pollution. I was co-chair of a high-level interdisciplinary team that reported to the EU Group of Chief Scientific Advisors (SAPEA, 2019, https://www.sapea.info/topics/microplastics/) and have worked with G7 and WHO working groups on microplastics.
Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung Biologische Anstalt, Germany
Sebastian Primpke is postdoctoral research working in the Marine Microbiological Ecology - Microplastics group of the section Shelf Seas Systems Ecology at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. He studied polymer chemistry with a focus on the polymerization kinetics prior to his switch into the field environmental science. In this field, he is interested in the development, harmonization, and evaluation of analytical methods for the identification and quantification of micro- and nanoplastics within all types of environmental matrices.
Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), South Korea
Dr. Wonjoon Shim is currently a principal research scientist of Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) and a professor of Department of Applied Ocean Sciences at Korea University of Science and Technology. His scientific background is environmental chemistry. His research focus includes development of analytical methods of microplastics and their associated chemicals, assessment and characterization of microplastic pollution, and weathering process of producing micro- and nanoplastics. Wonjoon has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers.
Faculty of Marine Science, Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile
a marine biologist with strong interest in in the behavioral ecology of marine invertebrates and the functioning of marine communities. Together with his students he has studied the reproductive biology of a variety of free-living and symbiotic crustaceans, and the community dynamics in biotic habitats (mussel and ascidian beds, algal turfs and kelp forests). One key research topic is rafting dispersal (mostly on floating kelps). The large amounts of floating marine litter encountered during their research and the complete lack of scientific information about marine litter from the SE Pacific led him and his team to include this topic in their investigations. In 2007 they founded the citizen science program "Cientificos de la Basura" (Litter Scientists), which has since been expanded to other countries along the East Pacific (www.reciba.org). This initiative is a research collaboration between scientists and schoolchildren with the goal of characterizing and understanding the problem of marine litter (see also www.cientificosdelabasura.cl).
Department of the Built Environment, The Faculty of Engineering and Science, Division of Water and Environment, Urban Pollution Research Group, Center for Microbial Communities Aalborg University, Denmark
Jes Vollertsen is Professor of Environmental Engineering at Aalborg University, Denmark. His background is biological and chemical processes and pollutants in urban technical waters. He and his microplastics research group focus on analytical methods for quantification with the goal to contribute to trustworthy, fast, and affordable methods to quantify microplastics in the environment. The work targets all types of matrixes, e.g. water, wastewater, sludge, biosolids, sediments, soil, biota, food, air, etcetera. His goal is to quantify sources and occurrence of environmental microplastics and address the processes behind mitigation technologies. He addresses aspects of the physical, chemical, and biological breakdown of microplastics in the environment.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Martin Wagner is an associate professor for environmental toxicologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. He is studying the impacts of plastic pollution on freshwater ecosystems and on human health. He is particularly interested in the toxicity of chemicals used in and leaching from plastics as well as larger societal aspects, including risk assessment, perception and communication.
Imperial College London, UK
Dr Stephanie Wright is a UKRI Rutherford Research Fellow and Lecturer in Environmental Toxicology at Imperial College London. Research in her lab focuses on micro/nanoplastics and human health. With an emphasis on airborne microplastic, her interests are in detection methods and exposures; biokinetics and in situ accumulation; and particle and chemical toxicology, all from a human health perspective