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MICROplastic effects on marine BEnthic Ecosystems Functioning (MICROBEEF)
deadline: october, 2025

Aquatic ecosystems are globally polluted with plastic waste, which is now considered one of the greatest environmental challenges of the twenty-first century.

A large fraction of plastic debris is present across ecosystems and environmental matrixes as microplastics (MPs), in the form of fragments and fibers.

Marine sediments are widely recognized as the ultimate accumulation zone for the great majority of all the plastic debris that enters into the marine environment, including microplastics that could ultimately impair key ecosystem functions.

What is still missing, indeed, is knowledge on the possible ecosystem wide effects of MP contamination, that could possibly impair benthic ecosystem functioning and biogeochemical cycles.

With these premises, MICROBEEF aims to understand the bio-ecological effects of microplastic (MP) and microfiber (MF)

contamination in marine sedimentary matrices, through  two main objectives: i) to assess what is/are the effects of MPs contamination on microbial abundance and biodiversity in marine sediments and ii) how contamination of MP and MF might affect Carbon degradation processes occurring in benthic marine ecosystems.

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