Since their introduction at the beginning of the 1900s, plastics have been finding their way into our oceans, where they persist, breaking into ever smaller pieces. While these microplastics put at risk the health of marine ecosystems, we believe that student literacy of the topic counts among the solution to reverse this risk. It is our hope, that as students develop into adults, they will be able to provide solutions for microplastics as both professional and citizen scientists.
The Plankton, Plastic and Poo resource has been put together to educate students using the pioneering research into microplastics in the ocean at the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. The resource covers key scientific principles such as food webs, allows students to work scientifically by simulating the researchers’ investigations, and encourages students to use their findings to have a wider impact.
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. From 1 April 2018, NERC is part of UK Research & Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) is an independent, impartial provider of scientific research and contract services relating to the marine environment. PML focuses on understanding how marine ecosystems function, their role in the Earth system and how we can protect this important environment for the prosperity of future generations. A truly interdisciplinary marine research centre and charity, PML delivers highly innovative research and solutions for national and international marine and coastal programmes. PML’s research is timely, highly relevant to UK and international societal needs and has at its core the mission to contribute to issues concerned with understanding global change and the health and sustainability of marine ecosystems.
Exeter University is a Russell Group university that combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 21,000 students and is in the top one per cent of universities worldwide. Exeter is also ranked 14th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 13th in the Guardian University Guide 2018. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the University ranked 16th nationally, with 98% of its research rated as being of international quality, while in 2017, Exeter was awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) assessment.
The Sea Musketeers inspire awe and curiosity for the oceans and highlight the opportunities it can provide to a younger audience in terms of adventure, economic resources and career paths.