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Symiah Barnett

Loughborough University


At-site microplastic monitoring for rivers and marine environments


  • Dr Edwin Baynes
  • Dr Paul Roach

PhD Summary

The focus of this project is to monitor microplastics and nanoplastics in rivers and marine environments over a long period of time to better understand their transportation, fate and formation. In order to do this, I will develop a standard protocol for sampling, extracting and quantifying microplastics and nanoplastics in river and marine environments. In addition to this, I will analyse the persistent organic pollutants and heavy metal formed via the degradation of plastics.

Previous activity

Before commencing on my PhD, I studied applied chemistry student at Aston university.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

During my summer placement at Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation, I discovered that I was interested in tackling the problem of water borne microplastic pollution. I would love to continue research in microplastics pollution, and I believe this research project provides the opportunity to do so, and the research will make a meaningful contribution towards combatting the world plastic problem.

Why did you choose CENTA?

I applied to the chosen CENTA studentship because it encouraged CASE partners on the project, which allowed me to form a partnership with Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation. This partnership enables me to carry out international fieldwork and provides opportunity to communicate with international policy making bodies. Also, I am keen on developing both a technical and transferable skillset and keen to further my own knowledge, so I was enticed by the CENTA training program.

Future plans

This PhD project is multi-disciplinary, with allows me to develop a broad range of skills in analytical chemistry, geography, and data analysis. These skills enable to me to pursue a career in a wide range of sectors, but I particularly keen on using the research to inform policies. As I hope actively to use and apply the skills and knowledge from this PhD to help combat environmental issues.