Paola Micaela Mafla EndaraDoctoral Student
Research areas and keywords
UKÄ subject classification
- Environmental Sciences
- Soil microbial ecology, Micro- and nanoplastic contamination, Microfluidics, Microscopy
Environmental plastic contamination is a global problem that recquires urgent actions. Many studies have already demonstrated how the pollution with plastic materials is seriously affecting marine environments. However, there is less knowledge about of plastics in freshwater systems and even less studies are focused in soil ecosystems.
New evidence suggests that terrestrial ecosystems are large reservoir of plastics, specifically micro- and nanoplastics, but their origin, occurrence and fate are mostly unknown. According to recent studies microplastics might negatively influence soil organisms´s performance by reducing their fitness, much less is known about the impact of microplastics on soil microorganisms. Considering that soil microbial communities are responsible for fundamental soil processes such as nutrient cycling and carbon storage, and that the accumulation and potential toxicity of micro- and nanoplastics in soils can affect their habitat and therefore their functions, there is a strong call for investigation.
My PhD project aims to investigate the effects of different types of micro(nano)plastics on soil microbiota´s performance, their ecosystem services, their community composition and their interaction with the soil system. The later goal will be to communicate the findings to prevent potential risks and hazards of agricultural and societal practices for ecosystem functions and biological conservation.